Is My Child Pigeon-Toed?

Peter Wishnie, D.P.M.
Owner of Family Foot & Ankle Specialists in Piscataway & Hillsborough, NJ

Children start walking between the ages of 9-15 months with girls being a little bit faster than boys.  It is common to see children walking with the feet turned in or out.  Out-toeing is a less of a concern because children usually grow out of this condition. 

In-toeing also know as pigeon-toed, can be a problem if left untreated.  If the condition does not correct itself, children can develop numerous problems as they become young adults.  These include bunions, hammertoes, heel pain and/or ankle, knee or lower back problems. 

This is because as the foot turns in, the heel turns outward.  This is called over-pronation.  Most foot deformities occur because of abnormal gait disturbances.  In addition, the leg is rotated internally, which is the reason for knee and lower back pain.

Most doctors will tell parents that their child will outgrow this problem.  As a Hillsborough podiatrist, we see many patients per day who have problems secondary to uncorrected in-toeing.  So, it is best to treat and prevent problems instead of waiting for the problem to correct itself.  Treatment is very simple which is making a pair of custom orthotics.  Depending on the age of the child, an orthotic can decrease the amount of in-toeing.  Once the child reaches the age of seven, it is difficult to eliminate the in-toeing but an orthotic will help prevent foot problems that are associated with this deformity.