How Pediatric Orthotics Can Correct Your Child's Pigeon Toes

How Pediatric Orthotics Can Correct Your Child's Pigeon Toes

You want to give your child every advantage in life, from unconditional love and support to essential life skills and educational opportunities. So, when you noticed that their feet turn in when they stand and walk, questions started swirling in your head:

Your pediatrician can answer all your questions and put your mind at ease. In most cases, the news is encouraging: the problem will correct itself over time. But sometimes, children need a little help getting their toes pointed in the right direction — and that’s where we come in. 

If your pediatrician recommends orthotics, our team at Ortho Engineering, Inc. comes alongside you and your child to design the best shoe, insert, brace, or splint to realign the musculoskeletal structure in the shortest amount of time. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding pigeon toes

Pigeon-toed people stand and walk with their toes pointed inward instead of straight ahead. It can occur in one foot or both, and it’s fairly common among babies and young children. Here’s what it looks like at different stages of a child’s development:

In most cases of pigeon-toeing, the problem resolves itself as the child grows. 

Causes of pigeon toes

There are generally three reasons your child’s toes turn inward.

1. In-womb position

If your child was in the breech position in the womb, meaning they weren’t positioned head down, it may have contributed to the foot formation. Technically called metatarsus adductus, the condition may also be caused by low amniotic fluid during pregnancy, genetics, or sleeping position (particularly stomach sleeping).

If you can straighten the foot with your hand, your child has flexible metatarsus adductus; if you can’t, it’s called nonflexible metatarsus adductus. This condition occurs in one out of every 1,000 births.

2. Twisted lower leg bone

Pigeon toes can also be the result of twisted lower leg bones, a condition called internal tibial torsion. You may not see symptoms of this condition until your child starts to walk. This type of pigeon toeing may require bracing or other orthotics to help guide the bones back into alignment. 

3. Rotated upper leg bone

The most common type of pigeon toeing stems from a problem in the upper leg, called femoral anteversion. When the femur rotates from the hip joint, the effects run through the leg and cause the classic “W” seated position and intoeing. About 10% of all children experience this. 

How to correct pigeon toes

Your pediatrician is the best source for determining if, how, and when to treat your child’s intoeing. As we mentioned, mild cases and early signs of pigeon toes typically go away on their own.

In more severe cases, some pediatricians prescribe casting or bracing to correct the problem before the child begins walking. If intoeing persists into older childhood, the doctor may recommend corrective measures to assist with walking and other physical activities. 

Whatever your child needs — we design and manufacture it to precisely fit your child’s unique body and circumstances. 

If your pediatrician has prescribed an orthotic device of any type, don’t trust a mass-produced, over-the-counter product that may make the problem worse. Ortho Engineering has nine locations throughout Southern California to make it easy for you and your child to access our custom-created orthotics. We invite you to bring your doctor's recommendations to us, and let us design an orthotic that will give your child a huge advantage in life. Contact us at any of our locations today to get started. 

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