What is in-toeing?
Intoeing means that one or both feet point inward instead of pointing straight ahead when walking or running.
In-toeing can affect one or both legs and usually runs in the family.
Intoeing in infants may be noticed even before walking as they may have a curvature to their feet caused by their postion in the womb.
Intoeing in young children may be noted as the child seems clumsy and stumbles as a result of their toes catching on the other heel while walking or running.
Older children may have an awkward gait, trip often and be teased by peers for being pigeon-toed. A child whose intoeing is associated with pain, swelling or a limp should be evaluated by their podiatrist.
There are three main causes of in-toeing:
- Tibial torsion - this is when the shin bone (tibia) is twisted. This is caused when the child is in the womb and the bones are soft. As the child grows and their bones fully develop this will untwist and will usually be resolved by school age.
- Femoral anteversion - the thigh bone (femur) like the shin bone can also be twisted inwards. This generally corrects itself, but does take longer, approximately by age 9 or 10.
- Metatarsus adductus - this is when the feet are turned inwards and shaped like a 'C' and therefore cause the child to walk in-toed.
It is important to consult your podiatrist if your child's intoeing is:
- Causing difficulties with thier usual activities (for example; unable to walk or run without tripping or falling)
- Causing pain in legs
- Only one side is affected