Patient education and support is a priority for us, which is why pediatric specialists and surgeons from across the Nemours Children’s Health System help create informative articles about pediatric orthopedics and share their trusted resources. We want to make sure you and your child understand what to expect every step of the way.
Learn more about pediatric orthopedics in general, specific pediatric orthopedics conditions, tests, treatments and ways to cope with your child’s injury or illness from KidsHealth.org, the world’s most-viewed children’s health website.
Abnormality of gait refers to an unusual walking pattern or style. There are many types of gait abnormalities, each with their own name and list of possible causes.
More to Know
An unusual walking pattern can be caused by diseases of the central nervous system (such as cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, or multiple sclerosis), or be the result of an injury or deformity in the brain, spinal cord, legs, feet, or inner ear.
Gait abnormalities are common in young children. The types most often seen are in-toeing (when the feet turn inward) and out-toeing (when the feet turn outward). These conditions are not painful and usually resolve on their own as the child develops.
If a gait abnormality is not self-correcting, a doctor may recommend special shoes, casts, or leg braces. Some cases might require surgery. Physical therapy can help someone with a gait problem learn to walk more easily and safely. A walker or cane might be advised for someone with poor balance.
Keep in Mind
People with gait abnormalities can be very independent, but they are at higher risk for falls and other injuries. They may need to move at a slower pace and ask for assistance when walking on uneven ground.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.