What Is It?
Duck feet or out-toeing is so-called because of the outward pointing position of the feet. While less common than in-toeing, Duck Feet can occur as part of normal development in young children.
Usually, your child will grow out of this foot pattern by the age of 8 years but if it continues, the condition can cause significant problems in later life.
Our feet, knees, legs and hips are a marvel of technical engineering. Efficient, pain-free movement is the result when these joints all work together correctly. When tight muscles prevent these bones and joints from aligning properly, issues such as Duck Feet Syndrome can arise in young children, and continue into adulthood.
Whatever your age, if you have excessive out toe when walking, Erica Dash Podiatry has a solution for you.
Duck feet may occur due to the baby’s position in the womb if the baby’s hips exhibit a strong outwards rotation pattern. Typically, the baby will outgrow this pattern as the tight muscles form new patterns of use.
Certain chronic conditions can also lead to an excessive outwards turning gait, which may lead to complications as you get older such as foot and ankle pain, tibialis posterior tendon dysfunction, shortened calf muscles (equinis), knee and hip pain.
External Tibial Torsion
Duckfeet Syndrome often occurs as the result of external tibial torsion. This is where the shinbone twists outwards causing the feet and toes, likewise, to turn out. A degree of tibial rotation is normal in the early stages of growth.
But if this becomes excessive, it may cause discomfort and problems later including a painful knee condition known as patellofemoral pain syndrome.
This type of Duckfeet Syndrome is the result of the femur (thigh bone) turning outwards, which, in turn, rotates the knees and the feet out into the typical duck footed stance.
Excessive weight gain is a common precursor to this form of Duck feet and may result in severe hip problems and arthritic conditions.
Flat Feet – Pes Planus
Flat feet (the lack of foot arches) can cause the feet to rotate outwards as the lack of arch support causes the foot to roll inwards.
In most case, flat-footed children develop normal arches over time. Poor posture, lack of muscle tone, injury and genetics can also play a part in the development of Duckfeet Syndrome.
The most noticeable symptoms are one or both feet turn outwards when standing, walking or running. The knees also may point outwards. Your child may appear to be clumsy or awkward when walking or running. You may also notice your child exhibits flat feet.
In most cases, children will not experience discomfort but if they complain of foot, lower leg, knee or hip pain then they need to see a podiatrist as soon as possible. Normally, you can expect your child to be able to walk with knees pointing straight ahead and feet pointing slightly outwards by around the age of four.
If your child still exhibits a duck footed walk or stance then we recommend a visit to your podiatrist.
In most young children, Duckfeet Syndrome will correct itself with time but it is important that you monitor your child closely for lack of improvement or any discomfort.
However, if a duck footed gait is becoming an issue for your child then we can recommend a number of techniques that will ease the problem and bring relief including:
- Gentle muscle therapy to help release tight muscles
- An age-relevant stretching and exercise programme to strengthen weak muscles
- Custom designed orthotics to provide support and encourage better alignment. Erica Dash Podiatry uses a unique European orthotic extension that assists you to walk straighter immediately upon fitting of your customised device.
- Supportive footwear that relieves pressure points and provides real support
- A dry needling program to gently lengthen shortened muscles.
More Treatment Options
In-depth gait analysis will identify any areas of misalignment or poor muscle tone that are triggering the problem or that might lead to further problems as your child ages.
Issues such as poor posture and muscle weakness that might be behind your child’s Duck Feet may also play a part in poor concentration and social awkwardness.
Prevention is always the best cure so the earlier you can remedy any issues the better for your child’s all-round health and well-being.
If you or your child is experiencing problems with Duck Feet then talk to the experts at Erica Dash Podiatry. Duck Feet, if left untreated can put you or your child’s long-term health and well-being at risk. We’re here to help and offer a range of highly effective solutions.
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. We also have effective treatment offers for kids.