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From Piki to Sakang, 5 Weird Toddler Walks and When You Need to WorryIs your toddler piki or sakang? Here's what you need to know about it.
Learning how to walk takes quite a bit of time to master. Toddlers can learn how to be stable and walk a few steps, anywhere between 9 months old to 16 months old. You need to be patient especially when they have quirky ways of using their feet and legs. Call it practice, but there are times when you need to worry.
1. Walking on tiptoes
Also called toe walking, this is when your toddler’s heels do not touch the ground when she walks. Think of how you stand on your toes when trying to reach something high or when you want to appear taller.
“Most children ‘toe walk’ occasionally when they're cruising (moving around a room using various objects for support) and when they're first starting to walk, especially if they're walking on a bare floor,” Dr. Andrew Adesman says in an article for BabyCenter. Some toddlers even do it on and off just for fun, adds Dr. Adesman, a pediatric development expert and chief of developmental and behavioral pediatrics at Schneider Children’s Hospital in the U.S.
When to worry:
As long as she doesn’t do it most of the time, toe walking around 2 years old shouldn’t be a cause for concern. Kids typically outgrow doing it own by age 3.
However, if your toddler’s tiptoeing is persistent and continues beyond age 3, consult a doctor. Toe walking has been linked to several problems; the most serious of which is cerebral palsy. “Preemies are more prone to the form of cerebral palsy called diplegia, which involves the bottom half of the body,” says Dr. Adesman and this can sometimes show itself in the form of toe walking. It’s also linked to developmental disorders (like autism), muscle weakness disorders and nervous system problems.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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When we walk, our feet are facing forward and are parallel to each other. Some toddlers, however, walk with their feet at an angle either with the feet turned in, creating an A shape, (in-toeing) or turned out, creating a V shape (out-toeing). “Often this is most noticeable when a child learns to walk because if the tibia or femur tilt at an angle, the feet will too," says KidsHealth.
So why does your toddler walk like this? The most common cause is tibial torsion, or when the lower leg bone (called the tibia) turns inward or outward. Your child’s in-toeing could have happened because of his position in the uterus. It also has a tendency to run in families; typically, a child's walking style looks like that of his or her parents.
When to worry:
In-toeing at birth usually corrects itself on its own, but it should still be looked at by a doctor by the time the child is 6 months old. For toddlers, the bones will gradually rotate to a normal angle as the child’s muscle control improves, says KidsHealth.
If your child’s in-toeing does not improve by age 3, see a doctor. Other signs of a problem include limping or complaints of pain, one foot turning more than the other, and worsening gait abnormalities.ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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3. Knock-knees or piki
We call it 'piki' when the knees are close together when standing or walking. It brings the legs closer together and creates a bigger gap than usual between the feet. Don’t worry, though. Knock-knees aren’t at all unusual and are part of normal growth and development, according to the Boston Children’s Hospital. “During early childhood, knock-knees help a child to maintain balance, particularly when she begins to walk, or if her foot rolls inward or turns outward.”
Knock-knees usually show between 2 and 3 years old. Both knees may be “knocked” or, sometimes, only one is, and the other remains straight. The condition may increase in severity until age 4 and corrects itself by age 7 or 8. It’s also a little more common in girls than in boys.
When to worry:
Very few cases of knock-knees need treatment or surgery but red flags to watch out for include: an abnormal gait, difficulty walking or running, running with legs swinging out and when your child’s ankles can’t touch when her knees do. Knock-knees that have only started to appear at age 6 is also a cause for concern as it could be a sign of an underlying bone disease.
4. Bowlegs or sakang
The opposite of knock-knees is bowlegs; the legs bend outward, so the knees don’t touch. You may notice this when your toddler is standing still or walking. As with being piki, being sakang at a young age is common, and often nothing to worry about, according to BabyCenter.
You may have noticed your child’s bowlegs since birth; an infant’s position inside the womb can also cause it. In any case, it should start to straighten out and have corrected itself by age 3 gradually.
When to worry:
If your child’s bowlegs are extreme or only affects one side, consult a doctor. Severe cases are rare and are usually a sign of a larger problem. One of these is rickets, “a bone growth problem usually caused by lack of vitamin D or calcium in the body,” according to KidsHealth. Rickets also cause muscle pain and enlargement of the spleen and liver. Another is Blount disease which causes an abnormal growth at the top of the leg bone, which can require surgery. The illness appears suddenly and rapidly worsens.
Did you know that most babies are born with flatfeet? They develop the arches in their feet as they grow older. Flatfeet is when the entire sole of your child’s foot touches the floor when she stands up. It’s because your little one’s joints and bones are still very flexible which causes the foot to flatten out.
A child will develop the arches in her feet by age 6, so it’s okay if your toddler doesn’t have them now. “Only about 1 or 2 out of every 10 children will continue to have flat feet into adulthood,” according to HealthyChildren.org, managed by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Should you worry if they don’t appear later on? “Flatfeet usually don't cause problems. Doctors only consider treatment if it becomes painful,” says KidsHealth. Flatfeet can cause tightness of the Achilles tendon which is usually treated with special stretching exercises. Consult a pediatrician if there is a pain, sensitive areas on the inner side of the foot, or limited foot and ankle motion.
Sources: KidsHealth, Baby Center 1, BabyCenter 2, HealthyChildren.org, HealthyChildren.org 2, Boston Children's Hospital, NHSADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW
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