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Mobility and Gait difficulties

Mobility: the ability to move physically, e.g. walking, running, crawling. 

Gait: the manner or pattern in which an individual walks, e.g. toe walking

Children and young people can experience issues with mobility and gait, often presenting as:

  • Frequent trips and falls

  • Clumsiness

  • Toe walking

  • Flat feet

  • Intoeing (toes pointing inwards) or Outoeing (toes pointing outwards)

  • Excessive pain in legs after activity.

Please note that children with certain long-standing conditions may also present with these symptoms and require more frequent input from physiotherapy services.

What you can do to help

  • Consider the child’s age and stage of development as intoeing can be considered a normal variant in children aged under 10, depending on severity, and can resolve spontaneously without physiotherapy input.  

    • Take a look at the Parent Leaflets available from the Association of Paediatric Chartered Physiotherapists (APCP), in particular:- 'Intoeing gait'.

  • Consider the child’s age and stage as all children under the age of 3 have flat feet; the arch on the side of the foot does not begin to develop until after this age. Most arches will form fully with age. However, on occasion, older children or adults can still have flat feet which do not usually cause any problems.

  • Consider the child’s sensory processing as some children may intermittently toe walk but they are able to stand with their feet flat on other surfaces.

  • Consider the child’s usual footwear as the weight and support from shoes can have an impact on a child’s ability to complete an activity, and can help to reduce trips and falls. Shoes with arch support, and that come up around the ankles are usually preferable.

  • Monitor/video the child’s walking and be aware of swelling, excessive pain/discomfort and/or an unexplained limp. If these are present, your child should be seen by GP.

  • See “Muscular and Joint concerns” particularly for toe walking.

Disclaimer - Always seek the advice of your doctor/physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the internet.

Need more

If you have tried all the suggestions above but require further support, contact us on the link below.

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