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3 Legged Crawl and possible tight hamstring


I’ve been following Tots on Target Instagram for a while now, but just joining the community today after a poor visit to the orthopedist.

Here’s the story:
My second will be one in a few days. He is a 33 weeker due to preeclampsia. He spent two and a half weeks in the nicu and had no physical problems. Apart from some rough acid reflux he has been thriving. Hitting his gross motor milestones at or just ahead of expectations. He started crawling at 9 months and I noticed he dragged his right leg. I mentioned it to our pediatrician, but it had only been going on for 2 weeks so she didn’t seem concerned and I knew he had some initial trouble transitioning in and out of sitting, but it passed so I decided to wait and see if this passed too.

About a month after Ped visit we had a checkup at the high risk infant clinic. They wanted to check on his development. I pointed out the crawling to them and both the OT and NP who checked him said that his right hamstring felt tighter than his left. They told me to have my Ped write a referral for an orthopedist to get it checked out as they couldn’t find an impingement and didn’t think PT was the right way to go.

So after calling ped, getting referral and finally going to ortho here I am. The ortho was a pompous dismissive :poop: and said he doesn’t need to crawl properly, will probably drag that leg for a bit when he starts walking and then grow out of it. He told me stay clear of Dr Google and he didn’t notice any tightness in that leg.

Having followed Tots on Target and Kinactive Kids for a while now I know I should be addressing this, but being on an hmo I’m unlikely to get another referral and even if I do the next person may be more of the same. He’s now pulling to stand (always starts with his left leg) and has taken a few cruising steps. So I’m looking for things I can do at home to help my little one. I don’t fear him being delayed, just not properly/evenly developing his muscles.

Edited to add - he stands/cruises on his toes a lot. I know this can be normal, but just wanted to include it in case it’s useful info. And apologies for my long post

Hi, I’m sorry you had such a bad experience and that no one thought PT would be helpful. I am glad you are reaching out though. I have a bunch of questions!
How does he sit when he is on the floor? Is he able to side sit to both sides? If you encourage him to lead with his right leg is he able to do it? What if you have him crawl over a bunch of cushions or create a crawling obstacle course. Will he crawl more symmetrically? Do you have stairs? How does he do crawling up stairs? Can you get him to alternate which leg he leads with?

Sorry for all the questions! I have resources I can share but wanted to get some answers first! He’s lucky to have you!

And as for on the toes, that can by typical in the beginning but he should be able to relax down on to his feet when in standing and cruising and not always be on his toes.

Can he squat for items to pick up when he is standing at support?


Also, here is a link to our youtube playlist for crawling stuff if it helps at all! Crawling - YouTube


Thank you so much :blush: I’ll try to answer as many questions as I can and please feel free to ask more, I work the same way - lots of questions.

So when he sits on the floor he either has his legs out in front of him or keeps his right leg (the one he drags) tucked close to his body. He will side sit with his right leg in front. I’ve tried to get him to switch, but he resists turning his right leg out.

I’ve gotten him to crawl symmetrically here and there by holding his hips, he’s not a fan of this. I held his ankles this weekend and he was a bit more ageeable to that but fights to pull his right leg up to his normal position.

He has figured out how to crawl over things with his right leg tucked. We have three stairs in the house. He started pulling himself up into his brothers toddler chair and on a small stool this weekend, so he might be able to try the stairs.

Thanks for the toes info. I can’t remember what my first did if he was on his toes at first or not. If he’s not trying to reach something I gently pull his feet down to flat and he doesn’t resist. I don’t see him squat down to get toys, but I do see him get into deep squats when sitting himself back down.

Hi, sorry I forgot to check back here! Here is a video that can help you ease into side sitting: Side Sitting - YouTube
It’s a great way to make sure there is hip mobility and core strength and that it is equal on each side.

Here is a video for supporting crawling up stairs: How to Help your Baby go up Stairs - YouTube

That’s impressive that he has figured out how to crawl over things with his leg tucked! The other position to work on playing in is kneeling so that the hip are up off the feet. You can also have them come in and out of this position. It will help with strengthening. As they are better at that you can have them try to ‘push’ a diaper box while on their knees so that they have to move the knees. You may have to hold on to the box so it doesn’t go flying away!
Here is a video that shows coming in and out of kneeling: Transitioning from Sitting into Kneeling - YouTube
And here is one I did on ideas for helping kids who crawl in the non-typical way: What to do for the 'Funky' Crawl - YouTube

And for squatting here you go: Squatting and Getting Down from Standing - YouTube

Hopefully some of these give you ideas!


Thank you so much for checking back in and these additional videos. The side sitting one is great and I’m going to start working with him on that today. I did get him into side sit on the side he fights a few times last week, but your ideas will probably make it easier.

I have one more question. He is progressing in his development and as I type this is taking steps while pushing an empty diaper box around. Can this asymmetrical crawl and any tightness resolve itself as he continues to develop and starts walking. I’m not noticing any problems with his current early steps so I’m just trying to figure out if I should push this with his pediatrician when we see her in two weeks or just do what I can now and let it be.

So my thoughts on it without seeing your little one is that the repetition of crawling in the asymmetrical pattern is not great for them as it develops tightness/weakness because it is asymmetrical. Walking symmetrically is definitely better. But, we get so much strength and coordination from crawling that we ideally don’t want to skip that. I wouldn’t stop your little one from walking but I would continue to work on symmetrical crawling, even if it’s more advanced things. Hope that helps

Thank you. I’m watching him do more of a butt scoot with one arm push the last few days and I’m going to push our pediatrician for PT :crossed_fingers:

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Great! Keep us posted!

Finally getting a chance to update this thread. After a lengthy process dealing with insurance we were able to get a PT evaluation and do 2 sessions. We now need to get reapproved due to changing insurance :woman_facepalming: Luckily we will be able to stay with the same therapist and are hoping we will only be off for a week.

The therapist gave us some exercises at home following our eval and all be seen some improvement in his sitting and positioning, but no change to his crawl. At this weeks therapy session our therapist said he probably won’t change his crawl since it’s habit at this point. I am more than a little frustrated with all of this. Just hoping to strengthen that weak side at this point.

I’m so sorry for this lengthy unfortunate experience! Hopefully your PT will be able to help guide your baby’s progress towards further milestones.

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