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Leg and foot problems in children.

Byline: DR MIRIAM STOPPARD Helping to keep you fit and healthy

Minor leg and foot problems children are born with include "pigeon" toes, splay foot, bowlegs, knock-knees and flat feet. Minor problems rarely interfere with walking or require treatment and can run in families.

Pigeon toes, in which the toes point inwards, is common and occurs at any time from infancy to about age eight. Splay foot, in which the feet point away from each other, is less common and may occur at about six months.

Bowlegs, in which both shinbones curve outwards, is considered normal in a child until the age of three. Severe bowing can be a sign of vitamin D deficiency. Knock-knees, in which a child's legs curve in at the knees is common between the ages of three and seven.

Most children have flat feet until the arch develops between two and three years of age. Children also have a fat pad under the foot that makes the feet look even flatter.

Should I consult the doctor?

Yes if you're concerned about the appearance of your child's legs or feet or if your child has difficulty walking, has a limp or complains of pain.

What's the treatment?

Most minor leg and foot problems don't require treatment because they usually disappear naturally as your child grows up. Out-toeing usually disappears first, often within a year of a child starting to walk. In-toeing and bowlegs usually disappear by age three to four and knock-knees by age 11-12. If you're worried, see a specialist for remedial help.
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Title Annotation:Features; Opinion, Column
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Dec 6, 2013
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