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Infant Toddler Development Training
Module 6, Lesson 4

Orthopedic Conditions and Associated Factors

Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions

An orthopedic condition is a condition that affects the skeletal system. Examples include diseases of the muscles such as those described in Part 1 of this lesson, intrinsic disorders of the bone, joint problems, and limb problems.

mother holding babyThe ITDS should be aware that there are several common orthopedic conditions that can affect any infant and toddler and do not result in developmental disability or delay. However, if necessary treatment is neglected, a child may experience difficulty in motor development. Some of the most common conditions include Flatfeet, Toe-Walking, Pigeon Toes, Bowlegs, and Knock-knees.

Flatfeet occur in approximately twenty percent of the population and usually do not create a problem for the child. It is considered a normal variation of human development.

Toe walking is common in young toddlers and is only a concern if it persists past the age of two and in a prolonged fashion rather than as an intermittent occurrence. If a continuous pattern of toe walking continues past the age of two years, the toddler should be evaluated to determine if the child has cerebral palsy

Pigeon toes are when the toes turn inward. Pigeon toes are also considered a normal condition of infants and toddlers who are learning to walk.

Bowed legs of an infant or toddler should be evaluated by a medical professional to determine if the child has rickets or if the tendency is one that will improve with time. Rickets is caused when the child does not get enough vitamin D. It is easily treated. Severe bowlegs may be an indicator of a more severe problem and must be evaluated by the primary medical provider who may suggest a consult with an orthopedic specialist.

Knock-knees occur as children grow and the alignment of their body changes. The primary medical provider should follow the condition and refer to a specialist if the condition is severe.

To learn more about the common conditions described above, read information in the document, Common Childhood Orthopedic Conditions This is a required reading.


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