Intoeing Gait

Walking with feet turned inwards or, ‘pigeon toe’, is a normal variant of walking development in children. The turning in is caused by the angle of the hips, the shape of the shin bones, or shape of the feet.

 

What should I look out for?

If your child has an intoeing gait, their feet will tend to turn inwards when walking and running. Often it affects both legs however it can occur on just one leg or affect one leg more than the other.

Children who intoe may trip or appear to be clumsy at first, but this soon resolves. Intoeing is often worse when children are tired, which may be due to muscle weakness or flexibility.

Guidance and helpful information

Walking with feet turned inwards is a normal stage in growing up and usually improves by starting secondary school.

Feet turning inwards are usually no cause for concern and therefore can be helped by following some simple suggestions.

  • Your child should wear supportive high street footwear,
  • Discourage the ‘W’ sitting position
  • Be active

How physiotherapy can help

If your child walks with their feet turned inwards but also develops a limp, complains of regular pain or is not keeping up with their peers in their development (such as jumping, running and hopping), then a referral to the physiotherapy service may be needed.

We will provide you with an initial appointment over the phone or by post. The first appointment will take place in a clinic. We will take a detailed history, observe your child doing some functional tasks as well as assess their range of movement.

What happens next?

A referral should be sent by your GP or health visitor. A physiotherapist will assess your child’s functional skills and their joints, muscles, and bones to establish if there is any other cause.

We would provide advice aimed specifically at your child’s needs. If necessary, we may refer into other services, which may be more appropriate for further assessment.