Many children experience a condition in which their toes appear to point inward when they walk, which is sometimes referred to as being “pigeon-toed.” Although these abnormalities are usually outgrown by the age of two, the condition can appear in older children. Most cases of in-toeing in older kids resolve themselves by the age of 8 or 9 but may require special shoes or a cast for the feet to straighten out.
Types of In-toeing
There are three different types of in-toeing:
- Metatarsus adductus—The inward bending of the foot occurs at the midpoint. In a mild occurrence, the feet remain fairly flexible, whereas in more severe cases the foot can be very stiff. If the foot remains bent after age 6, your foot doctor may recommend wearing specially designed shoes and inserts or a cast boot to help the straightening process.
- Femoral anteversion—This is the name given to a twisted thigh bone that causes the knees and feet to also turn inward. If the child continues to walk oddly or begins to trip often and no improvement is noticed by the age of 9, then surgery may be necessary.
- Tibia torsion—This is when the twisting tendency is originating from the shin area, or tibia. Again, while usually outgrown by the age of eight or nine, if the problem continues a surgical intervention may be necessary.
Another condition that is much less common than in-toeing is when the feet point outwards. Called out-toeing, it is often seen in children who have flat feet. This should be addressed early, since untreated arch problems can lead to pain and disability later in life.
If you are concerned about your child’s gait mechanics or foot shape, it is important to see a podiatrist for a proper evaluation. The foot specialists at ETL Podiatry in Briarwood and Melville, NY, have unparalleled experience in treating all aspects of foot and ankle problems. Our team of doctors is dedicated to serving you with all of the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Melville, NY (631-549-8637) and Briarwood, NY (929-336-4523).