An in-toeing gait is very common in children, and is a frequent complaint of many parents. In fact, an in-toeing gait (pigeon-toed) is the most common rotational deformity seen in pediatric orthopaedics. In the overwhelming majority of patients, the in-toeing will correct with growth over time.
The three most common causes of in-toeing in children are
- femoral anteversion (twisting of the femur/thigh)
- internal/medial tibial torsion (twisted tibia/shin bone)
- metatarsus adductus (curved foot).
Most children with in-toeing have no pain or functional problems. Frequently, families notice that the child stands, walks, or runs with the feet point inward. Sometimes it will be noted that children who in-toe are clumsy and trip frequently. Usually chiropodists recommend observation for children.
In the vast majority of children younger than 8 years old, intoeing will almost always correct itself without the use of casts, braces, surgery, or any special treatment.
In children who continue to have in-toeing past the age of 8 years old, they should have their feet evaluated as well as their gait by a chiropodist.
Brought to you by Doctor John A. Hardy, owner of Toronto's foot clinic, Academy Foot and Orthotics Clinic.