Intoeing—a condition you might know as “pigeon toes”—is something that concerns parents, especially new ones. Many wonder what kinds of long-term impact the condition will have on their child’s life or if pigeon toes can be corrected.
Let’s start with a quick look at why intoeing happens. There are generally three different causes – metatarsus adductus, tibial torsion, and femoral anteversion. In that order, the root cause starts at the bottom and moves its way up.
Metatarsus adductus is a matter of unusually-curved feet that turn inward. With tibial torsion and femoral anteversion, abnormal twisting of bones in the lower and upper leg (respectively) leads to pigeon toes.
Often, there is no need for external intervention to correct intoeing. Most cases of mild-to-moderate intoeing is outgrown without treatment. As your child’s body develops, bones will begin to settle into a proper alignment all on their own. It’s important to keep in mind that this can take a few years, though.
When an infant has a serious case of metatarsus adductus, the child might need a series of casts on the affected limb for a couple of weeks. This isn’t something that would be done unless A) the condition is quite serious and B) the baby is at least six months old. The purpose for these casts are to correct alignment into a more natural position before the child starts to walk.
In cases wherein the intoeing is caused by either tibial torsion or femoral anteversion, there is generally no need for braces, casts, or special shoes. Previous treatment for the condition may have used such devices, but time has proven them to be largely ineffective. Essentially, these root causes of intoeing just need time to resolve on their own.
Now, if your child reaches age 9 or 10 and we have not seen any real improvement in the condition, we may recommend surgical intervention to align the bones into a normal positioning. As with our policy for any medical issue, we will exhaust conservative treatment options before reaching that point.
No matter what child foot care services your son or daughter needs, we will be glad to provide compassionate, effective treatment. Contact our Chicago podiatrist office by calling (773) 586-0050 (Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays are the best times to call), or take advantage of our online form to get in touch with us.