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What is intoeing?

Intoeing is a term used for toes that point inward. It is common in babies and young children. Intoeing is also called “pigeon-toed.”

What is the cause?

Intoeing may be caused by the baby’s position in the mother’s womb before birth. It’s usually present from birth but you may not notice it until your child starts walking. Some types of intoeing may not be obvious until your child is 5 or 6 years old. Intoeing is usually caused by a twisting of the thighbone, shinbone, or bones in the foot.

How is it diagnosed?

Your healthcare provider will ask about your child's symptoms and medical history and examine your child.

How is it treated?

Most children don’t need treatment. Usually intoeing gets better on its own. When it’s caused by a shinbone that twists inward, intoeing usually gets better once your child starts standing and walking. If it’s caused by a thighbone twisted in at the hip, the main treatment is simply having your child not cross his legs. The problem usually gets better when your child starts school and has to sit in chairs.

If there is a problem with one or both of your child’s feet, special shoes usually help. In severe cases, your child’s healthcare provider may put a cast on your child’s feet and lower legs. Casts are most often used before your child is 8 months old. Surgery is only rarely needed.

How can I take care of my child?

Follow the instructions your child’s healthcare provider gives you. Ask your provider:

  • If there are activities your child should avoid and when your child can return to normal activities
  • How to take care of your child at home
  • What symptoms or problems you should watch for and what to do if your child has them

Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup.

Developed by RelayHealth.
Pediatric Advisor 2015.3 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2015-03-01
Last reviewed: 2014-04-01
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright ©1986-2015 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All rights reserved.
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