Intoeing

Torrance Foot & Ankle Specialist

Intoeing is characterized by the feet turning inward instead of pointing straight ahead when walking or running. It is commonly noticed during early childhood when a child begins to walk, but it can also be identified among children of various ages and for different reasons. The condition does not usually cause any pain or lead to arthritis, and it does not usually interfere with how a child learns to walk.

Three common conditions can cause intoeing:

  • Metatarsus adductus – This condition occurs when the feet, from the midfoot to the toes, bend inward. Metatarsus can range from mild and flexible to more pronounced and rigid. Most cases will improve on their own during the first 9 months of a baby’s life, but more severe deformity may require treatment using casting or special shoes. Surgery is not typically required.
  • Tibial torision – Tibial torision involves the inward twisting of the tibia, or lower leg, and usually corrects itself gradually after birth or as a child grows taller. Most cases of tibial torision will improve before a child reaches school age, but surgery may be required to realign the bone in older children with a severe twist that interferes with walking.
  • Femoral torision – Femoral torision, or femoral anteversion, occurs when the femur, or thigh bone, turns inward. It typically becomes apparent in children around the age of 5 or 6, and is characterized by an increased twist near the hip, which can cause the knees and feet to point inward rather than straight when walking. The majority of cases involving femoral torision will correct on their own without treatment. Surgery to rotate the femur into proper alignment only becomes necessary when severe deformity creates walking difficulties for older children.

If your young child displays intoeing when walking or running, they will likely outgrow the condition before the age of 8 without any need for treatment. However, cases of severe intoeing may require medical intervention in order to correct. Intoeing associated with pain, swelling, or limping should also be evaluated by an orthopedic specialist.

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If you have questions about intoeing or a related condition, our orthopedic specialists are available to help. Request an appointment today at any of our South Bay locations