Why does my child's ankles roll in?

If you've noticed your child's ankle rolls in, many issues could be responsible. Today, we'll walk you through some options. But here's what we won't say: don't worry. They'll outgrow the problem.

Unfortunately, when parents ask about their children's foot and ankle pain or appearance, that's what they hear. Sometimes, that's true, and the kid will grow out of it. But I still hate this response. No kid should have foot and ankle pain. Even if it's temporary.

So, if a parent notices their child's ankle rolls in, that's an issue. And it's a sign of a significant condition I'd never ignore.

Why are Rolling Ankles a Problem? Ankles that roll in make sports, walking and running harder for kids

If your child's ankle rolls in, they are dealing with pronation. Along with the ankle symptoms, you'll notice other issues. Your child may have flat feet (the arch disappears when your child stands flat.)

You'll probably see a large bulge on the inside of your child's ankle as well. Plus, non-physical symptoms could be a problem. Your child may seem unathletic. He or she could complain about or refuse to walk or run for long distances. A young child could sit down and cry about the problem. And an older child may complain that his or her feet, ankles or knees hurt.

All these symptoms point to one issue: pronation. Some pronation is normal for young kids. But for older kids, it's a big deal. So if you notice any of these signs, it's time to visit your Houston podiatrist. I specialize in treating kids. And I won't wait for them to 'outgrow' an issue.

Because here's the thing: most of the time these children will not grow out of these conditions. What actually happens is that they develop the ability to compensate for them. And that could mean bunions, hammertoes, heel pain, knee pain, and arthritis down the road. Which is why we have to find out the cause of your child's pronation. And offer the right intervention.


Why do Kids Ankles Roll In?

As I hinted earlier, there are lots of things that can make your child's ankle roll. One common cause? Loose ligaments, a problem that often goes with low muscle tone. Now, if your child's ligaments are loose, they can't stop joints from moving too far. Which is why you may notice your children's ankles pronating.

Of course, some kids are born with mechanics that make their ankles roll in. (We call this a herditary cause.) So, if your ankles roll in, you shouldn't be surprised if your child's do, too.

Also, your pregnancy could have contributed to pronation. Because, in some cases, your baby's position in the womb will affect his or her foot development. Meaning, in some cases, fetal position causes childhood pronation.

Now we've got that all covered, here's the important part. No matter what causes your child's rolling ankles, we want to address it. Quickly. Because our treatments are most effective in young children. Since their bodies are still developing.

Treating Pronation in Children A custom orthotic, cast for your child's foot, can help correct ankles that roll in

We treat rolling ankles by addressing your child's mechanics. I know that sounds fancy, but it's actually simple. In fact, if we start treatment at a young age, insoles or custom orthotics could solve this problem. Even better? This non-invasive treatmen will keep your child active. And it could prevent surgery down the road, as well as other complications.

Now, if orthotics alone don't retrain your child's foot, don't worry. Many kids overcome pronating with night braces and physical therapy.

Of course, whatever treatment we choose, there's one important idea to keep in mind. Your child deserves to walk and play comfortably. So, if one intervention for flat feet doesn't work, we'll progress to new options. Because, at the end of the day, kids feet should never hurt. And even if pronation doesn't hurt at first, it will cause pain later on if left untreated.

Have you noticed your child's ankles roll in? Is your son or daughter clumsy, often tripping over his or her own feet? Are sports, or even long walks a challenge? If you've answered 'yes' to any of these questions, I need you to read the next lines carefully.

None of these are 'normal' parts of childhood. They won't be outgrown. But, with a quick visit to our Houston podiatry practice, we can make a big difference in your child's life. We can conquer rolling ankles, and avoid problems later in life.

Sound good? We agree! So don't wait another day! Make an appointment today to treat your child's inward rolling ankles.

Dr. Andrew Schneider
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A podiatrist and foot surgeon in Houston, TX.