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Intoeing

Alternative name: Pigeon Toe

What is intoeing?

Intoeing is when the tips of your feet are turned inwards instead of pointing straight forward when walking. It is usually found in children at different ages. In many cases of intoeing in children under the age of eight, the condition corrects itself. There are three different types of intoeing:

  • Curved foot (metatarsus adductus), in which the feet point inward from the middle of the foot to the toes – sometimes looks like clubfoot
  • Twisted shin bone (tibial torsion) in which the leg bone is twisted and causes the feet to turn inward
  • Twisted thigh bone (persistent femoral anteversion) in which the hip joint is turned more inward and causes legs and feet to turn inward

What are the signs of intoeing?

  • Stumbling
  • Noticeable turning in of feet
  • Walking difficulties
  • An awkward way of walking (gait)

What causes intoeing?

There is no known cause of intoeing but it can sometimes run in families.

How does a doctor tell if a patient has intoe?

The doctor will take some of the following steps to see if a patient has intoe:

  • Look at the legs and feet
  • Watch the walking pattern of the patient
  • Order an X-ray to get a clear view of the bones

How is intoeing treated?

In children under the age of eight, there is no treatment recommended for intoeing. After a time, the intoeing corrects itself.

Notes below on the three types of intoeing include the recommended treatment when the problem does not correct itself:

  • Curved foot (metatarsus adductus): Usually this problem corrects itself within the first four to six months of life. If the intoeing is severe, putting on a cast or special shoes might be used to help in realigning the foot and correcting the problem. Surgery is very rarely used for this type of intoeing.
  • Twisted shin bone (tibial torsion): Usually this problem corrects itself before the child is five years old. In severe cases, surgery is done to reset the bone. Special shoes, exercise programs, and splints have not proved effective.
  • Twisted thigh bone (persistent femoral anteversion): Usually this problem corrects itself before the child is five years old. In severe cases, surgery is done to reset the bone. Special shoes, exercise programs, and splints have not proved effective.
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