When you’re a parent, milestones are a big deal. Not only is it exciting to see how your child is growing and progressing, meeting milestones helps assure you that he or she is developing healthily and on time. Any problems can be very concerning—which is why so many parents are upset by walking abnormalities like intoeing.
You understandably want to do whatever you can to straighten out and normalize your child’s walking. However, there are lots of misunderstandings around this particular gait issue, and not all remedies are helpful. That’s why it’s important to know the truth about treatments for intoeing.
The truth is that, in most cases, treatments like braces and special shoes do not help improve your child’s gait—though physical therapy can in a few cases. First, you need to understand a little about why children’s toes point inward. The three main sources of the problem are metatarsus adductus (curved feet), tibial torsion (slight twist in the shin bones), and femoral anteversion (slight rotation in the thighs).
All three of these normally correct themselves. Most children outgrow the the last two of these abnormalities within a couple years of first displaying gait problems. As your child’s lower limbs grow, the bones untwist and the muscles get stronger, holding feet in the correct place. Also, studies have shown that wearing special braces or shoes does not speed up this process.
Sometimes, however, intoeing from metatarsus adductus may need treatment. This curve in the feet at the arches often corrects itself in the first six or so months of life. However, babies who are approaching walking age with a serious curve or rigid feet may not grow out of the problem. In those cases, your child might need a stretching and casting therapy similar to the one for treating clubfoot.
Other than that, most children simply need to have their gait monitored to make sure the problem doesn’t get worse and that it isn’t related to neurological disorders. Only on rare occasions would turned in feet last for many years or cause pain or walking difficulty which would require more invasive treatment. Our team at Absolute Foot Care Specialists would be happy to make sure your child has healthy feet. Just make an appointment with us by calling (702) 839-2010.