Intoeing is a term describing toes pointing to each other while walking. This can be concerning for parents. An accurate diagnosis can be made with a history and exam.
As a physician, I want to know
- when it started
- associated symptoms like limping, tripping or pain
- how does your child sit
- any concerns (from the patient or parent)
- birth complications
- how has development been
- any injuries
- family history of similar conditions?
The toes can look like they turn inward due to turning at three points in the lower leg: the thigh (increased femoral anteversion), the lower leg (internal tibial torsion), or the foot (metatarsus adductus).
- Increased femoral anteversion (the thigh) usually resolves by late childhood in more than 80% of patients. Bracing or shoe modifications are usually not helpful.
- Internal tibial torsion (lower leg) may be seen first after a child starts to walk and resolves in 95% of patients by age 8.
- Metatarsus adductus (the inturning foot) is one in 1,000 live births. If mild, observation is suggested. If it is more severe, then serial casting may be done for six weeks.
Watchful waiting or what others call “benign neglect” may be most helpful as most of these conditions soften or go away with age. And, sports skill/speed has not been found to be lessened with intoeing.
Seek help, answer questions, and be patient–if need be.
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