Hi! I’m the Head of School in a program in Charlottesville. I have an 18 month old child with pigeon toed feet. Mom said her doctor told her she would grow out of it. But they’re so severe that I’m concerned. An infant and toddler specialist is also concerned. Is there a person I can have Mom call for a second opinion? Thanks.
Thank you for your inquiry. I can understand how concerned you might be about the child in your program that is in-toeing (pigeon toe). What I would suggest first is that the pediatrician may be right to tell the parent to wait as the vast majority of children that in-toe do outgrow it as they grow and their legs below their knees tend to become straighter. One question I would ask is does the child seem clumsy or does the child stumble frequently? That would be a concern that you could approach the parent with and possibly suggest a visit to a pediatric orthopedist. An orthopedist can make a better evaluation of the source of the in-toeing and if a specific treatment is necessary.
In-toeing can be developmental due to the natural bowing of the infant lower leg before he or she learns to walk. It can also be the result of other orthopedic issues that may require some form of medical intervention whether it is shoes, orthotics or simple stretching activities. Keep in mind doctors rarely treat pigeon-toed feet because it may just be something the child will outgrow. Special shoes and braces commonly used in the past were never proved to speed up the natural slow improvement of this condition. In-toeing usually doesn’t interfere with walking, running, or sports, and ends on its own as kids grow into teens and develop better muscle control and coordination.
I hope this answers your question. Please do not hesitate to let us know if you have any other questions.
Marion J. Addis, PT