What is intoeing?

Intoeing is a common children’s gait condition which occurs when a child walks with one or both feet turned inward. Commonly known as a ‘pigeon-toed’ gait, it is most prevalent in children aged under 4. Intoeing is generally asymptomatic but severe cases of intoeing can cause tripping.

Does your child have an intoeing gait?

Signs & symptoms of intoeing

The following signs or symptoms may indicate an intoeing children’s gait:

  • One or both feet turn inwards when your child walks or runs
  • You may notice squinting knees or turned in knees when your child stands or walks
  • You may notice “banana” or curved shaped feet
  • You may notice that your child looks clumsy or trips over their feet when walking

Whilst intoeing is usually asymptomatic in some cases it can be a source of embarrassment for the child which may then lead to low self esteem and affect their participation in activities.

Children's Podiatry Camberwell - Intoeing Treatment

Causes of intoeing

Paediatric intoeing can be caused by one or a combination of 3 main conditions as outlined below:

Metatarsus Adductus

Metarsus adductus occurs when a child’s foot is turned inward. The forefoot is adducted or curved inward relative to the rearfoot. This causes the foot to have a “banana” or curved shaped apperance and will likely lead to an intoeing gait when a child walks.

Internal Tibial Torsion

Internal tibial torsion occurs when the lower leg bone (tibia) is turned inward relative to the knee joint. This condition may be present in one or both legs and will lead to an intoeing children’s gait.

Internal Femoral Torsion

Internal femoral torsion occurs when the thigh bone (femur) is turned inward relative to the hip joint. This causes a child’s knees to turn inward when walking and will likely also result in the feet turning inward causing intoeing when a child walks.

Other factors that may cause intoeing in combination with the above include:

  • Genetics
  • Poor postural positions
  • Tight muscles
  • Low muscle tone
  • Injury

Intoeing diagnosis

An intoeing or “pigeon-toed” gait in children is easily diagnosed clinically by our Melbourne children’s podiatrists, who are experts in children’s foot problems. Our podiatrists can use computer gait analysis to assess your child’s gait which helps identify the cause of intoeing, making treatment more successful.

Podiatry treatment for intoeing

The children’s podiatrists at Melbourne Podiatrists & Orthotics are experts in treatment of children’s foot problems including intoeing. Treatment outcomes for paediatric intoeing are better if treated early and often only parent assurance and education is sometimes all that’s required.

Podiatry treatment options for intoeing children include:

Gait plate orthotics have an extended lateral (outside) section and work by proprioception. Basically it is more comfortable for the child to walk out-toed rather than in-toed when wearing the devices. Gait plates will not correct intoeing (addressing other factors will) but can help a child walk straighter when wearing them. This improves aesthetics, helps reduce associated tripping, and also improves a child’s self esteem.

Whilst children’s intoeing is generally asymptomatic and most cases will resolve spontaneously, other cases may remain or get worse if the cause is not addressed, so assessment with a podiatrist is essential.

Call us Melbourne Podiatrist

Does your child have an intoeing gait?

At our Melbourne foot clinic our children’s podiatrists are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of children’s foot conditions including intoeing.

So if your child’s feet turn inward when walking or your child trips over frequently when walking book an appointment with one of our friendly children’s podiatrists today!