What is a out-toeing?

Out-toeing or excess abduction is a children’s gait condition which occurs when a child walks with one or both feet turned excessively outward. Out-toeing is the opposite to intoeing and commonly referred to as having “duck feet”. It can cause an apropulsive gait and the child may look clumsy when walking and running. An out-toeing gait is often associated with a paediatric flat foot and may lead to other lower leg problems.

Does your child have an out-toeing gait?

Signs & symptoms of out-toeing

The following signs or symptoms may indicate an out-toeing children’s gait:

  • One or both feet turn excessively outwards when your child walks or runs
  • You may notice that your child’s knees point outwards when standing or walking
  • You may notice that your child looks clumsy or apropulsive when walking or running
  • Your child may appear to have duck feet and even waddle like a duck when walking
  • You may notice that your child has flat feet
  • Out-toeing is mostly asymptomatic but flat feet can lead to other problems
Children's Podiatry Camberwell - Out-toeing Treatment

Causes of out-toeing

Paediatric out-toeing can be caused by one or a combination of the conditions outlined below:

External Tibial Torsion

External tibial torsion occurs when the lower leg bone (tibia) is turned excessively outward relative to the knee joint. It is normal to have a little external tibial torsion and most children should ideally walk with their knees straight and feet turned out slightly from the age of 4.  However too much external rotation will result in out-toeing or an excessively abducted gait.

External Femoral Torsion

External femoral torsion occurs when the thigh bone (femur) is turned outward relative to the hip joint. This will cause a child’s knees to point outward instead of straight when walking and will likely result in the feet also turning outward causing an out-toeing gait.

Paediatric flat feet

If your child has flat feet then depending on the severity they may also have an abducted or out-toeing gait. When the arch of the foot collapses it causes the midfoot to collapse and the forefoot to abduct (turn out). Therefore the flatter the foot the more likelihood of also noticing an out-toeing gait.

Other factors that may cause out-toeing in combination with the above include:

  • Genetics
  • Poor postural positions
  • Tight muscles
  • Low muscle tone
  • Injury

Out-toeing diagnosis

An out-toeing gait or “duck feet” in children is easily diagnosed clinically by our Melbourne children’s podiatrists, who are experts in children’s foot problems. The cause of your child’s out-toeing can be diagnosed by our podiatrists using computer gait analysis leading to a more successful treatment plan.

Podiatry treatment for out-toeing

The children’s podiatrists at Melbourne Podiatrists & Orthotics are experts in treatment of children’s foot problems including out-toeing. Early treatment at our Melbourne foot clinic will deliver best results for your child.

Podiatry treatment options for out-toeing children include:

Orthotics work by supporting your child’s foot and natural arch, leading to improved foot function. This reduces forefoot abduction, so in cases of out-toeing with associated flat foot deformity an orthotic will improve the angle of gait and your child will walk straighter.

Whilst children’s out-toeing is generally asymptomatic it can lead to flat feet and other related problems so treatment with a children’s podiatrist is highly recommended.

Call us Melbourne Podiatrist

Does your child have an out-toeing gait?

At our Melbourne foot clinic our children’s podiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of children’s conditions affecting the foot, ankle and lower leg. This includes out-toeing or duck feet.

So if your child’s feet turn excessively outward book an appointment with one of our friendly children’s podiatrists today!