In-toeing is often known as pigeon-toeing describes the position where the feet are turned inwards to face each other. There is a period as kids learn to walk and run confidently that in-toeing may be normal, but this should have resolved by the time your kids are going to school.
What causes in-toeing?
In-toeing may be caused by :
1. Metatarsus Adductus
Metatarsus adductus is a “c”(or ‘banana-like’) shape of the foot, where the front half of the foot turns inwards. If you have it, it’ll be noticeable at birth, occurring in approximately 1 in every 1000 babies. For most, it will resolve on its own. Others may need help straightening the foot.
2. Tibial Torsion
Tibial torsion is when the tibia (shin bone) twists inwards, hence twisting the foot inwards and resulting in in-toeing. Tibial torsion is often the result of the position of the legs in the womb. While tibial torsion should correct itself before the child reaches school age, if it doesn’t then assistance may be needed to encourage the tibia to turn outwards.
3. Femoral Anteversion
Similar to tibial torsion but affecting the thigh bone, femoral anteversion describes the inwards twisting of the thigh bone (femur). This results in both the knees and knees twisting to point inwards too. The exact cause of femoral anteversion is unknown, but it is most pronounced around the age of five or six years. Again, femoral anteversion should correct itself as the child grows, but if it doesn’t, we recommend seeing your podiatrist.
What are the symptoms?
The inward-facing position of the feet is the main symptom. In-toeing does not usually result in any pain, or interfere with any developmental milestones like learning to walk. In-toeing can cause regular tripping and falling if the feet get in the way of one another.
How is in-toeing treated?
If the intoeing does not resolve on its own, our knowledgeable team of Podiatrists can help encourage the foot to turn outwards and straighten. This can be done through:
- A particular type of orthotic called a gait plate that is designed to promote the foot to turn outwards
- Strong, supportive footwear that will help stabilise the new position of the foot
- Stretching exercises to loosen tight muscles that may be preventing the foot from turning back out
- Strengthening weak muscles to help maintain good foot positioning and alignment
If you’re worried that the position of your child’s feet is interfering with their ability to walk, play or do any of the activities that they enjoy, don’t hesitate to bring them in.