Intoeing is a term used to describe inward turning of feet when a child walks or runs as opposed to the normal position of feet pointing forward. A more commonly employed term is “pigeon toed.” This condition may not be readily apparent soon after birth, but usually manifests itself at the time your child begins to walk. Intoeing does not occur at a specific age or for only one reason. It can happen at varying ages and for different reasons.
Three changes of alignment may result in intoeing, they are:
- Curved foot
- Twisted shin
- Twisted thighbone
These conditions that cause this deformity may run in families or occur sporadically. The causes may or may not have their roots in other bone development problems. Also, there is usually no way to prevent the condition, which is not usually painful or problematic.
As a child learns to walk, slight intoeing or out toeing may occur. This condition is not painful and usually corrects itself within a few years as their bones strengthen and develop. Sometimes this bone deformity is a carryover from the cramped and twisted position of the baby as they grew in the womb and will slowly resolve itself. As a child gains experience walking, intoeing corrects due to improvement in muscle control.
Years ago, it was common for doctors to devise braces and special shoes to attempt correction of the foot position. However, studies revealed that over time they made very little difference in the condition. The use of braces and special shoes has nearly become obsolete at this time.
If time and experience gained walking does not show improvement in the condition by age three, it is time to consult your podiatric physician for a complete evaluation. There may be another cause that needs to be explored. Pigeon toe condition that does not begin to show improvement could cause complications for both you and your child. Certainly by the time your child heads off to school, he or she may feel the social stigma of not walking the same as their friends. Problems for you, as a parent, may include finding and fitting shoes to your child’s feet because of the curve in them. This can become a costly and complex situation. You may wish to inquire what non-surgical options are available or ask if the doctor recommends surgery, and at what age this should be considered.
Dr. Vargas and his staff are compassionate, caring and sensitive to your foot health and the foot health of your child. Call us at (281) 313-0090 in Sugar Land, (281) 342-8700 in Richmond, or (281) 313-0080 in Houston to schedule an appointment.