Have you noticed your child’s toes point inward? Is your son or daughter pigeon toed? Dr. Vimal Reddy will be able to identify one of the three reasons your child’s feet are doing this. As children’s legs develop from infancy into adolescence, the bones undergo various twists and turns. Inward pointing toes, or intoeing, may be due to one or more of the following:
- Inward twisting of the thigh bone (the femur)
- Inward twisting of the shin bone (the tibia)
- Inward pointing of the front bones of the foot (the metatarsals)
Will my child grow out of this? In the majority of cases, yes. The bones of the feet will likely straighten out before age 2, while the bones of the shin and thigh might take a bit longer—age 6. The thigh is especially tricky since it twists in such a way that intoeing may not become obvious until age 5. Your First Coast pediatrician will be a valuable resource in helping you decide if you need to watch and wait, or if you need to seek the help of a podiatrist. While intoeing will usually not cause pain or arthritis, it may lead to children stumbling as they catch their toes on their heels. In each of these cases, treatment generally consists of casting with or without bars. The purpose of these treatment schemes is to gradually guide the bones into a more functional position. It’s important not to wait, since, by age 7 or 8, the bones a child has will be the bones he or she takes into adulthood. In severe cases, surgery may be necessary. Dr. Reddy at the First Coast Foot and Ankle Clinic will be able to help you decide what treatment is best, if any is needed at all.