Intoeing in Children
Intoeing in children
What is intoeing?
Intoeing is a common condition associated with early childhood development that involves the feet turning inwards when walking or running. Concerns often arise after parents begin noticing unusual patterns in their child’s walking and running style or have noticed their child has a tendency to trip over more often. At a glance, most would suspect that intoeing is exclusively a foot issue. However, intoeing can originate from the foot, tibia (lower leg) and/or femur (upper leg).
What are the potential causes of intoeing?
Intoeing can often be habitual and most will outgrow this, but there are other associated causes that may be the underlying reason for intoeing. This includes:
- Metatarsus adductus: This is when the foot itself is turned inwards. It has been theorised that metatarsus adductus is related to the position of the baby whilst in the mother’s uterus. In early stages of bone development, the foot is incredibly flexible and improves without any advanced treatment by the age of three. Some children may require shoe inserts to assist the straightening of their feet.
- Internal tibial torsion: This is where the bone of the lower limb rotates inwards below the knee and above the ankle. This is very common amongst children and will usually correct itself by the age of eight.
- Internal femoral torsion: This is where the thigh bone rotates inwards below the hip and above the knee. Once again, this is common amongst children and will usually correct itself by the age of ten.
When should you see a podiatrist for further assessment?
Whilst intoeing is often considered normal in the early stages of development, there are some specific examples of when you should see a podiatrist. These include:
Severe intoeing affecting balance
Causing referred pain/fatigue through either legs or feet
Present in only one foot/leg
What treatment options are available for intoeing?
The initial consultation would ultimately begin with a thorough biomechanical assessment to help identify the underlying cause of the intoeing. At the conclusion of the biomechanical assessment, the following treatment options may be discussed:
Custom foot orthotics (including gait plates)
Exercise based rehabilitation program (strengthening and stretching exercises).
Do you think your child is suffering from this condition?
If your child is complaining of sore legs, feet, or if you have noticed that they are having difficulty walking in any way, we are able to help through an initial assessment. We are currently running FREE kids assessments!
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