Intoeing, also called “pigeon-toed”, is an abnormal condition characterized by the inward facing of the toe or feet instead of its straight alignment. You may observe this condition at an early age when your child starts walking. It is inherent in nature and may occur individually or in association with other orthopedic conditions. The types of intoeing depend upon the area involved in the misalignment.
- Metatarsus adductus (curved foot): In this condition, the foot of the child may bend inward from the middle to the toes.
- Tibia torsion (twisted shin): In tibial torsion, the lower leg (tibia) of the child is twisted inward. This abnormal rotation of the legs can occur before birth, to accommodate the baby in the limited space of the womb. The alignment of the lower legs may show gradual improvement after birth, with age, and may not require any specific treatment.
- Femoral anteversion (twisted thighbone): Also known as excessive femoral torsion, femoral anteversion is characterized by the abnormal inward bending of the thighbone, knees and feet while walking.
Intoeing is normally painless and does not cause arthritis, but may cause stumbling or tripping while walking or running. It usually corrects itself without any specific treatment by the age of 8 years. Children having intoeing associated with any pain and swelling should be evaluated by an orthopedic surgeon. Some may require supportive casts, splints, special shoes and exercises to bring the foot into the right alignment. Surgery is rarely required.