This website uses cookies to give you the best experience. By continuing to use this website you are consenting to cookies being used. You can delete and block cookies from within your browsers settings. For more information please refer to our privacy and cookie policy page.

Login or register to view this video


Watch the children walking and running – they are healthy girls aged 3 and 17 months. How does their gait differ? The text below explains further.

  • There is considerable variation in the way normal gait patterns develop - these may be familial (e.g. ‘bottom-shufflers’ often walk later) and subject to racial variation (e.g. African Black children tend to walk sooner and Asian children later than average).
  • The normal toddler has a broad base gait for support, and appears to be high stepped and flat-footed with arms outstretched for balance. The legs are externally rotated with a degree of bowing. Heel strike develops around 15 to 18 months with reciprocal arm swing. Running and change of direction occur after the age of 2 years, although this is often accompanied by frequent falls until the child acquires balance and coordination. In the school-age child, the step length increases and step frequency slows.
  • Adult gait and posture occur around the age of 8 years. Normal gait follows ‘swing’, ‘stance’, and ‘toe-off’ phases; a painful or antalgic gait leads to shortening of the stance phase on the affected limb, and therefore lengthening of the swing phase.