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Footnotes / Blog

Pigeon toes (In-toeing)

Sunday, December 31st, 2017 Elizabeth Anthony

Children who walk with their feet turned in are described as being “pigeon-toed” or having “in-toeing.” This  condition is common. It may involve one or both feet, and it occurs for a variety of reasons.

Infant In-toeing

Infants can be born with their feet turned in. This occurs from the front part of their foot, and it is called “metatarsus adductus”. It is usually due to being positioned in a crowded space inside the womb before the baby is born.

Signs/Symptoms:

  • The front portion of  infant’s foot at rest turns inward.
  • The outer side of the child’s foot is curved like a “C” shape.

The pediatrician will evaluate these findings and refer to  a foot specialist to determine if further treatment is necessary.

Later Childhood

When a child is intoe-ing during her second year when they are starting to walk, is can be caused by inward twisting of the shinbone (tibia). This condition is called “internal tibial torsion.” Sometimes it can also be due to inward turning of the thighbone (femur), a condition referred to as “femoral torsion.”

The location of the deformity causing pigeon toes during later childhood would require diagnosis by a podiatrist or orthopedic surgeon.

Treatment

Some experts feel no treatment is necessary for intoeing in an infant under six months of age unless the deformity is very severe.

If intoeing persists after six months, or if it is rigid and difficult to straighten out, your doctor may refer you to a podiatrist or pediatric foot and ankle orthopedist who may recommend a series of casts applied over a period of three to six weeks. Doctors prefer to correct the condition before your child begins walking.

If intoeing causes pain or tripping while attempting to walk, other treatments may be utilized. These include physical therapy, night braces and orthotics. If the problem is persistent and severe, then surgical correction is always an option.

 

If you are concerned that your child may suffer from a pigeon toe gait, then bring him/her in for an evaluation by one of the podiatrists at innovative foot and ankle. We treat patients of all ages and would love to help. We have four office locations in Northern New Jersey in Essex County, Bergen County, Hudson County and Union County.