Yes, absolutely! When children fist start walking, their gait is driven by the strongest muscles in the hips and the legs, and the muscles that have the most communication between the brain and the muscle cells. After they gain a little strength and stability, they should have the most perfect gait of their lifetime.
Most children learn to walk barefoot, so they don’t have footwear putting abnormal mechanics on the structures of the ankles, knees, and hips (which we will talk about later – thank you, Nike…). They don’t have sport training to create imbalances in the strength of the legs or the hips, and they don’t have joint pain that prevents them from putting their full weight on their feet, knees, or hips.
They are just perfect bundles of muscles and nerves, and everything should function properly.
When children walk, they should bear weight on the entire foot, and all ten toes should point straight forward.
Have you ever seen someone who is “pigeon-toed”? That’s a non-diagnostic term for when people walk with the toes of both feet turned inward. It is an indication that the sacrum is out of its normal alignment. Sometimes people walk with just one foot turned in, which is an indication that the sacrum is out of place and rotated.
We have had several young children/toddlers come into our practice because their parents or grandparents saw that they were walking with one foot turned inward. Once we corrected the subluxations in the sacrum, they started walking perfectly.
We have also had adults come into our office who have been pigeon-toed since childhood, and it is a lot harder to correct those problems once the bones fuse. It’s not impossible, but it does take a lot longer.
Another problem that we see occasionally is toe-walking, where kids only walk on their toes or only occasionally walk with their heels on the ground.
Toe-walking is an indication that there is a lot of strain on the spinal cord somewhere in the spine. It can be in the sacrum and low back, or in the neck. Frequently, it is in multiple locations.
When kids, toddlers, and infants come into our practice, we check the full spine. Our goal is to correct subluxations as soon as possible, so that they can have the best opportunity to be healthy. Thankfully, most kids respond really quickly to chiropractic care, and then we get to do the fun part of keeping their spine healthy.