In-toeing (also commonly known as pigeon toed) means that the feet point inwards instead of pointing straight ahead when walking. This is a common problem in children that they usually grow out of by the age of 3-5 years.
There are three common causes of In-Toeing:
1. Tibial torsion and femoral antetorsion – Basically this means that the tibia (shinbone) and the femur (thigh bone) are twisted inwards. The twist can be caused by the way the baby lay in the womb while the bones were still soft. The bone slowly untwists as the child grows and should correct fully by the age of 9 or 10. In severe cases, surgery may be required. Children with femoral antetorsion often sit in the “W” position, with their knees bent and their feet flared out behind them.
2. Metatarsus adductus – The feet are highly curved inwards looking banana or crescent shaped. Usually metatarsus adductus corrects itself by usually 4-6 months of age. Metatarsus adductus is a different condition than clubfoot, which is a more severe foot deformity that requires treatment soon after birth.
3. Tight hip muscles and ligaments – In most cases this will self-correct without any treatment. As the child grows, hip ligaments and muscles stretch. Exercises to strengthen hip muscles and stretch tight ligaments can be beneficial.
We recommend visiting a podiatrist for an assessment if:
- You think your child’s in-toeing is getting worse.
- In-toeing is worse on one leg.
- your child has foot or leg pain with in-toeing
- Difficulty with activities such as walking or running due to constant tripping and falling.
- Causing pain in the legs.
- Difficulty finding footwear.
- If you suspect anyone of the above listed causes
Based on the findings a treatment plan will be prescribed. A combination of treatment options may be prescribed including: