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Gait Disorder Information: Gait Problems and Disorders in Children

Many children look like they may have a gait disorder as they learn to walk – unusually wide stances, wobbly steps, and toe walking are typical of toddlers on the move. However, if a child does not grow out of these walking patterns by age 4 or 5, a gait disorder may be to blame.

Gait disorders in children are relatively common and many are easily corrected. Some children simply take longer to develop correct walking cycles. With this said, a gait disorder may be a symptom of musculoskeletal abnormality that requires the care of a pediatric orthopedic specialist.

For example, a gait disorder may be a byproduct of:

  • Leg length discrepancy
  • Scoliosis
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease
  • Leg bone malformation
  • Flat feet
  • A short Achilles tendon
  • Hip dysplasia
  • Slipped capital femoral epiphysis
  • Musculoskeletal trauma

Certain gait problems can be indicators of neurological diseases such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and spina bifida. If your child has an atypical walking pattern or has difficulty keeping balance, be sure to consult with your family’s pediatrician.

We Can Help

Tampa General Hospital’s Children's Medical Center provides comprehensive care for gait disorders in children to ensure all kids can put their best foot forward. Our pediatric orthopedic specialists evaluate, diagnose, and treat children with all types of gait problems, from habitual toe walking to extensive bone malformations that require surgery. TGH’s orthopedic physicians collaborate with physical therapists and utilize the latest advances in physical rehabilitation and surgical care to help each of our young patients improve their musculoskeletal health and achieve a natural walking motion.

Use TGH’s Physician Finder to locate a pediatric orthopedic surgeon who can surgically treat gait disorders.