In-Toeing and Out-Toeing: Common Pediatric Deformities

22 Jan In-Toeing and Out-Toeing: Common Pediatric Deformities

As parents, we carefully watch our children’s development, and often their feet may be of concern. Have you observed that your child’s feet seem to point inwards or outwards when they walk?

“In-toeing” is a common condition where the child’s toes point in towards each other. In-toeing is sometimes called being “pigeon-toed.” The opposite problem, which is less common than in-toeing, is “out-toeing where the toes point away from each other.

Usually, both of these conditions are observed as soon as the child begins to walk. However, they may occur later. There are several causes for these including:

  • An inherited family tendency
  • The position of the child in the womb before birth
  • Sleeping or sitting in certain positions for long periods

In most cases, both in-toeing and out-toeing resolve themselves with no special treatment by age 8.

The Various Types of In-Toeing

In-toeing can manifest in several different ways.  Curved foot can be flexible or rigid and occurs when the feet bend towards each other from the mid-foot to the toes. If the infant’s in-toeing is rigid by age 6-9 months, the condition can be corrected by wearing a cast or special shoes for some time.

Twisted shin or tibia torsion shows as a twist in the child’s lower leg. In most cases, the tibia will “un-twist” with growth and will appear normal by school age. However, surgery may be recommended if the child still has a severe twist at ages 8-19.

A twisted thighbone occurs when the femur turns inward and both knees and feet point inside. This condition will appear by ages 5 or 6 and usually corrects itself. A child with this condition who is age 10 and above and who frequently trips or has an abnormal gait may require surgery.

Out-Toeing May Show along with Flat Feet

Out-toeing, while less common than in-toeing, can cause disabling pain if not treated by adulthood. Out-toeing is not related to flat feet, but sometimes a child will have both conditions. The arch doesn’t form properly in a child with flat feet and the foot appears to turn inside. Because it rarely is painful, this type of out-toeing usually doesn’t require treatment.

We Can Help with Any Pediatric Foot Issue

If you have pain from any type of injury or have any concerns about your foot and ankle health, make an appointment with Alta Ridge Foot Specialists at one of our three offices at 105 Chestnut Street, Mars Hill or 440 Alta Pass Highway, Spruce Pine or 2211 NC Hwy 105, Boone NC. Alta Ridge Foot Specialists in North Carolina provides expert and comprehensive medical and surgical foot care for patients of all ages. Dr. W. Aaron BroylesDr. Robert L. Van Brederode and Dr. Thomas Verla and their staff look forward to serving you. Contact us today!