Intoeing means that the feet turn inwards instead of pointing straight ahead when a child walks or runs. It is a common cause of parental fear.
Three conditions causes intoeing –
- Metatarsus adductus (the foot turns inward)
- Tibial torsion (the shinbone turns inward)
- Femoral anteversion (the thighbone turns inward)
Metatarsus adductus – Foot turns inwards. Babies aged 6-9 months with severe rigid deformity may be treated with casts or special shoes. Surgery is seldom required.
Internal tibial torsion – Tibia or shin bone turns inwards. It is a normal finding in the newborn. It resolves by walking age. Persistent internal tibial torsion after 3 years of age is a matter of concern.
Excessive femoral anteversion – Here the thigh bone turns inwards. The child stands or walks with both patellae and feet pointing inwards. It is most obvious at about 5 or 6 years of age. Children with this condition often sit in the “W” position.
Most femoral anteversion corrects as they grow. Avoid “W” sitting and encourage activities like cycling and swimming. Surgery is usually considered in children older than 8 years.