Intoeing, or pigeon toes, refers to a condition in which the feet point inwards, instead of pointing straight ahead. This problem is quite common among young children. It may be present at birth, and by the age of four about 30% of children show intoeing. However, most of the time, it is mild and corrects itself before puberty and only 4% of adults retain this problem.
Intoeing can occur due to bone deformities or movement disorders and, in some cases, can be a combination of both. The three most common causes of intoeing are due to deformity of the feet, due to internal rotation of the lower leg bone (tibia) and due to internal rotation of the thigh bone (femur).
Fortunately, most cases of intoeing fall into the normal category and hold no threats to the normal development of the child. However, while diagnosing the condition, the neurological status of the child should always be assessed carefully.
There are also certain diseases associated with intoeing such as: Rickets (predominantly caused by vitamin D deficiency in children leading to soft bones) & Blount’s disease (a bone growth disorder, characterised by outward bowing of the legs below the knees)
In normal children, intoeing is mostly due to skeletal problems and frequently more than one deformity is involved. The age of the child plays an important role in pinpointing the cause of the problem.
Whilst a majority of cases correct themselves as the child grows, there are a number of treatment options depending on the cause of the intoeing. For cases related to foot deformity treatment involves stretching to help straighten. This may involve braces or casts on the feet at a very early age. For cases relating to inward rotation of the leg bones orthotic treatment is effective in correcting biomechanical causes. Treatment generally includes the stretching and strengthening of muscles and avoiding positions that exaggerate the movement (e.g. W-sitting).
If you’re concerned about your child intoeing, call our reception at (07) 3823 5423 to book an appointment.