Here is an article one of our PT’s wrote that I wanted to pass on.
The way a child’s feet contact the ground can affect how they stand, walk, and play. Many questions arise when a new walker appears to be walking differently than their peers. Some of the common questions asked occur when parents or caregivers notice that their child is walking on the inside of their feet, the outside of their feet, or clinching their toes while standing and walking.
Developmentally there are periods of time where infants walk on the inside of their foot, on the outside of their foot, or clinch their toes gripping the floor that can be normal for where they are in their development of walking skills. However, these deviations can also indicate the need for orthotic intervention when present at a greater magnitude or outside a period of time where it is developmentally appropriate.
When a child walks on the inside of their foot it is called pronation. Developmentally, children pronate when they first start standing, cruising, and walking. This happens for a variety of reasons including that infants have not yet developed the small muscles in their foot yet and they stand with their feet farther apart in order to improve their stability. When an infant widens their stance to increase their stability and does not yet have developed muscles in their foot their weight falls to the inside of their foot resulting in pronation. While it is normal in a new walker/stander to pronate until they develop strength in the small muscles of their foot and are able to walk with their feet right underneath them, infants who are unable to walk due to pronation or continue to pronate despite progressing through the normal developmental stage may benefit from orthotics to help them align their feet.
When a child walks on the outside of their foot it is called supination. Infants, toddlers, and kids can supinate their feet while walking for a variety of reasons and can produce increased rigidity in their foot. Supination can occur because a child is tensing their foot either voluntarily or involuntarily or due to a lack of motion in the foot. In many cases, when a child supinates their foot, whether voluntary or not, they are not aware that they are doing it. This can be because they do not have the ability to relax their foot or because they are subconsciously activating all the muscles in their foot, or co-contracting, in an attempt to produce stability. While kids generally grow out of co-contraction as their stability and coordination improves kids that do not may also benefit from orthotics the help them relax and align their feet.
If you notice your child having difficulty walking due to pronation or supination that does not appear normal you should ask your child’s health care professional to help you determine if intervention is necessary.