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Baby Medical Q&A, Issue #104 Lower Limb Problems in Toddlers
August 01, 2015

Welcome to another edition of Baby Medical Q&A News.

Lower Limb Problems in Toddlers

This month, I am going to touch on a few problems that parents are concerned about with regards to their child's legs, feet and toes.

Bowed legs

Bowed legs are commonly seen in toddlers about the age of 2 years. Bowed legs are those where the knees are wider apart than the hips or feet when your child is standing. In most cases, there is no underlying disease process, and the legs will just naturally get straighter as your toddler gets older.

One disease process that can cause bowed legs is rickets, which is caused by Vit D deficiency. If your toddler's legs are very bowed, then it is best to see your doctor who can arrange tests to rule out rickets. The tests may include x-rays and/or blood tests. As mentioned, most cases of bowed legs are not due to rickets.


In-toeing refers to when your child walks with the big toes pointing inwards - this is sometimes referred to a pigeon-toed.

In most cases, there is no serious condition behind this and as your toddler grows the problem will resolve so your child's toes and foot position will look normal.

In rare cases, the problem will not improve and at age 8 years, if it is still a problem, then referral to an orthopedic surgeon is warranted.

Curly toes

Sometimes, the toes sit on top of each other, particularly the 3rd and 4th toes. This can be called over-riding toes or curly toes. Again, this is of no concern. Once your child starts to walk this will resolve. There is no need for strapping or special shoes.

In the rare incidence when the curly toes persist past 2 years of age, an orthopedic opinion is probably worthwhile.

When should I be worried about foot problems in my baby or toddler?

Most foot problems in babies and toddlers occur in a mobile foot and are therefore not of any concern. By a mobile foot, I mean that the foot can be moved by you (gently) into normal positions, so where there is a flat sole with the foot looking straight ahead.

If you are unable to move (gently) your baby's foot into a normal position, then you should see your doctor. In cases where the foot is relatively rigid, orthopedic review is likely to be needed.

Please feel free to share this ezine with family and friends.

Till next time,

Dr Maud

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