What is Intoeing?
Intoeing (pigeon toes) is when the feet point inward when walking. It is usually seen in children and may resolve in very early childhood with no treatment or intervention.
The child should be examined by a foot and ankle doctor if the intoeing is causing significant tripping, difficulty with normal activity, pain, difficulty with shoes, or is not resolved in early childhood.
Symptoms of IntoeingThe three common symptoms and causes of intoeing are:
- Medial femoral torsion in which the femur, or thighbone, is rotated inward.
- Medial tibial torsion is an inwardly rotated tibia or shinbone in the lower leg.
- Metatarsus adductus is when the foot is bent inward like a kidney bean.
Diagnosis of IntoeingA physical examination by a foot and ankle doctor will be performed to evaluate the severity of the condition and its cause, and to make sure that no other conditions are present.
A rotational profile will also be performed, which involves taking six different measurements of the angles of the feet, legs, and hips.
X-rays of the legs and feet will also be taken to assist with definitive diagnosis and treatment planning. Imaging techniques, such as a CT scan and MRI, are sometimes performed.
Treatment of IntoeingMedial femoral torsion often corrects itself on its own. Special braces, shoes, and exercises are not needed. Very rarely, an adolescent will be unhappy with the appearance of their legs. In this uncommon circumstance, an operation may be necessary to correct the rotation.
Most children with medial tibial torsion correct their twist on their own without any treatment at all. In very rare instances, the child may still have internal tibial torsion as a young adolescent. If this becomes a cosmetic problem for the patient, the bone may be cut and rotated outward to improve the appearance.
Generally, the metatarsus adductus curve is very flexible and the foot can be straightened by gently pushing it in the opposite direction. In 90% of infants, this bend will resolve on its own. The foot may benefit from gentle stretching exercises. If the foot is more rigid, casting is sometimes performed. Surgery is very rarely necessary.
Remember, any type of foot or ankle pain is never normal. A foot and ankle doctor can examine your feet and give you the best course of action.
Please call (626) 447-2184 (Arcadia) or (818) 408-2800 (San Fernando) to speak to a foot and ankle specialist about your foot and/or ankle needs.