Help! I Think My Child Is Pigeon-Toed. If you have noticed that your child is pigeon-toed (toes pointing in) then you are probably noticing what we call an in toe gait pattern. While this may be concerning to you, most of the time, in-toe gait will resolve itself. Sometimes it is persistent and can lead to your child being clumsy and not wanting to do much physical activity because of it.
What should I do if I think my child has pigeon-toe? It is best to start with your pediatrician where they will do a physical exam to determine if the in-toe is coming from the:
- Thigh (femoral anteversion)
- Shin (tibial rotation)
- Foot (metatarsus adductus)
Femoral anteversion is simply when the neck of the femur, the thigh bone, leans more forward and causes the rest of the lower body to rotate inward. This type of in-toeing is quite common in girls between the ages of 4-6. Most parents will notice that when their child’s feet point forward the knee cap looks like it’s pointing inwards. Surgery is only indicated in extreme cases and most of the time this resolves in kids as they get older.
Tibial rotation is the inward rotation of the shin bone and is most common when the child first begins to walk. Parents will notice that their child appears bowlegged when they walk. There is no evidence to suggest that any special shoes or brace will actually make any difference in this case. Don’t be fooled by products sold that may tell you otherwise.
Metatarsus Adductus or foot inward rotation is where we see the best impact of foot devices like orthotics or orthopedic footwear. This is the most common type of in-toe gait and the causes are thought to come from the positioning of the baby in the uterus.
Metatarsus Adductus Treatment
There are several treatment options to address Metatarsus Adductus.
- Massage: Massaging your child’s foot can possibly put the child’s foot back into its neutral position.
- We have also seen the positive effects of special shoes, some of which are available at Mobility on Mainway, or even wearing left shoes on the right foot in some cases!
- Gait plate in a foot orthotic. It is designed to help induce toe out in kids with metatarsus adductus. Ideally, wait until your child is about 7 years old since Metatarsus Adductus does resolve itself over time.
As a parent, it is quite concerning when you see that your child is bowlegged or that their feet are turning inwards. Mobility on Mainway recommends seeing your physician first to get an assessment done to determine if the in- toe needs to be addressed. If an in-toe does need to be addressed, Mobility on Mainway can help with providing the right treatment.