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Debunking New Walker Myths

Hey everyone! Holidays have been busy, but I'm back to bring you MYTHS about new walkers before we ring in 2021! Check out these common characteristics of walking that we see in little ones who are still learning.

FALSE! If you have a new stander or walker (been walking 3 months or less), you may see them walking on their toes.Why is that?

It could be for a couple different reasons. Here are some common ones:

🌟Foot stability: children are not born with natural arches- they form as they start weight bearing more through their feet. You may think walking on toes is a very unstable position, but when children turn on those lower leg muscles, they achieve a stable arch in their foot, allowing for more stability when standing or walking.

🌟Proprioception: your child is exploring what their body is able to do and what it feels like to be in different positions. They are really testing out their newfound skill!

A 2012 Swedish study published in the August 2012 found that about 5% of typically developing children will toe walk at some point in time under age 3. So toe walking is common, meaning DON’T PANIC if you see it for a little bit of time!!

FALSE! Babies are not born with natural arches! Children develop arches as they continue weight bearing through their feet with standing, walking, running, jumping! So when IS flat feet an issue?

We look at a couple things:

🌟Are they meeting motor milestones?

🌟 Is there pain associated with flat feet?

🌟 How does calcaneal alignment look?

If any of these raise some flags, we may start to look into some type of supportive shoe or insert.

Anyone else here an adult and still have flat feet? 🙋🏽‍

FALSE! It is typical to see some toeing out while learning to walk. This is a stable position and with a wide base of support, it helps your little one with balance! In typically developing children, you should see those feet get to a more neutral position with a couple months of walking practice.

FALSE! Did you know the typical range for babies to start walking is 12-16 months? Some resources even say 17-18 months too!

Twelve months is actually on the early side for walking! If your child is still crawling for mobility, take advantage of that because you get so many good things from crawling that they need for walking! So get creative: crawl over things, under things, around and through. Use soft surfaces, hard surfaces and every textured surface in between!

When ARE we concerned?

-If your child isn’t tolerating any weight through their feet when you put them in standing

-If they have a “janky” crawling pattern or asymmetries in motor movements

-If your child is getting close to that 15-16 month mark and not showing ANY signs of attempting to walk

If this is the case, early referral and intervention is important to get your kiddo on track!

FALSE! We give kids 3 months to develop a more stable walking pattern. The gripping with their toes is likely due to instability- they are trying their very hardest to stay on their feet! This is like when you try a new single leg yoga pose that is challenging so you grip your toes for a little help! So do not be concerned if you have a new walker and they are gripping their toes! They are working hard on balance and need some time and practice for improvement!

What other things concern you with your new walker? I'd love to hear from you and see your pictures and videos!

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