Causes of intoeing
Paediatric intoeing can be caused by one or a combination of 3 main conditions as outlined below:
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:
- Poor postural positions
- Tight muscles
- Low muscle tone
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 Melbourne podiatrist is essential.