Parents always find something to worry about—from their son’s intoeing, to their daughter’s childhood illness, to wondering if they will find good friends. You can take a day off from worrying and enjoy a fun outing with your kids in SoCal. How about checking out the peacocks and riding the railway at Irvine Regional Park? Or head in to Griffith Park in Los Angeles and your little ones can enjoy rides on the train, the carousel, or real live ponies!

Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists can help you with one worry: gait problems in children are usually not as serious as you think. We don’t know what it is with the bird names, but walking pigeon-toed (toes pointing in) or duck walking (toes pointing out) are actually quite common in the early years. They usually occur because of a twist in the foot, lower leg, or thigh, which can happen because of the position in the womb.

The good news? These abnormalities usually resolve on their own as your child’s bones mature and their muscle memory improves with walking. The progress may be so gradual you might not notice it, so you might want to take a video of your child walking every couple of months. When you compare them over time, you should be able to see the improvement.

By all means, bring your son or daughter in to our office when you first notice a problem. We’ll check to rule out any serious underlying issues (like nerve malfunction or muscular disease), but using braces or special shoes has not been proven to improve gait abnormalities any quicker, so we usually just let nature take its course. If your child is still having serious difficulties when they are older (9 or 10 years of age), we may consider whether surgical correction is necessary.

We encourage you to call our office with your concerns, because we’d love to tell you not to worry! We see lots of kids in our practice, and have the training and expertise to know when treatment is needed. Call Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists in Mission Viejo, CA at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) and our friendly staff will schedule an appointment, or request one online using this form. Our goal is your child’s healthy, strong feet, so they can enjoy playing, sports, or a day visiting our beautiful area parks.