The love parents have for their children is indescribable. That’s why parents pay much attention to their children. They try as much as they can to attend to the needs of the child. And make sure that the child is very healthy. But when a child falls sick or has a medical condition it saddens parents. That’s why when parents see that their child is pigeon-toed it’s a cause for concern. And they try as much as possible to find a solution to it. This condition is quite common among children up to 8 years of age. Today, we’ll be looking at what causes pigeon toes. And also what are the steps to take when a child is pigeon-toed.
This condition is also known as pediatric intoeing. It could occur in just one foot or both. Pigeon toes are when the toes turn inward. It is quite obvious when the child is running or walking. And not so obvious when the child isn’t walking or running. Usually, this is something that does not need surgery. After some time it would wear off and your child would be able to walk straight. But in some rare cases, surgery might be needed. We’ll take a closer look at the treatment options that are available for pigeon toes.
Causes of pigeon toes
There are three major causes of pigeon toes. They are:
Metatarsus adductus or varus
The foot appears to be curved and half-moon shaped. The ankle and back of the foot appear to be normal. But the front portion of the foot doesn’t appear to be normal. It points towards the middle. This actually happens as a result of the position the baby took while in the womb.
Metatarsus varus isn’t that common among breech babies. Breech babies are babies that didn’t face the right way in the womb. It occurs more among children whose mothers didn’t have enough amniotic fluid during pregnancy. This could actually be a result of family history.
This condition is referred to as flexible. That’s because it can be straightened easily. Usually, as the child gets older the foot starts to go back to its normal position. After this, you don’t have to seek medical attention. But if it doesn’t then you would have to consider getting treated.
It occurs among 10% of children. So it’s quite common. The femur which is a long bone in the thigh rotates too much inwardly. This happens at the hip joint. The possible cause for this is too much stress on the hips before the baby was born. That’s just speculation. The exact cause of this isn’t known.
At about 8 years of age, it’s expected that this would have corrected. If it doesn’t, then you would have to see a doctor. As the child might need to undergo corrective surgery.
This happens when the bone in the lower portion of the leg known as tibia rotates inward. At first, this is not noticeable. But as the child starts to take baby steps it becomes quite pronounced. Children that experience this don’t have any form of pain. But one common complaint is that the child falls that often.
As the child grows older it’s expected that this condition would be corrected. And the child would most likely not need casting or any other form of treatment. If after the child is 10 years old and it still persists then surgery might be needed. After the surgery, the child would most likely be able to walk straight again.
Pigeon toes are known to be family-related. It runs in the family. So if a member of the family has had or still has pigeon toes then there are higher chances that the child might be pigeon-toed.
How are Pigeon Toes Being Diagnosed?
This condition might not be so noticeable at first. At birth, just very few people are able to recognize that the baby is pigeon-toed. But as the baby starts to walk it becomes more glaring.
When it comes to diagnosing the doctor would observe how the child walks and stands. Also, doctors would examine the feet closely. This is to know the exact cause of bending. The doctor would check if there’s twisting in the knees or a problem with the hip.
Also, your doctor would also request for imaging tests. Such as CT scans and x-rays. This is to get a better view as to the alignment of the bones. Once a proper observation is done, the doctor would be able to give a proper diagnosis. And this would help the doctor know the best treatment option to opt for.
How Can a Pigeon-Toed Child be Treated?
In most cases, the child usually outgrows the condition. This means that after some years the leg would straighten on its own. It might take a few years though but at the age of 10, it’s expected that there should be proper alignment.
Children with metatarsus varus or adducts are given casts. The cast is to help align the feet properly. This cast is actually placed there for some weeks. Most times children affected by this are above 6 months old. The doctor might also demonstrate to you some massaging techniques you can do regularly to help align the feet properly.
As for femoral torsion and tibial torsion, the treatment method is time. So no braces, special shoes or even casts are needed. After some time it would actually resolve on its own. But if at the age of 10 it hasn’t aligned then surgery might be needed.
There aren’t serious complications or medical problems associated with pigeon toes. It doesn’t cause pain to the child would feel any form of discomfort. The only thing is that it might affect walking and running for some time. Remember that it’s not a lifetime thing. So it’s just for a while. Even if it doesn’t resolve after some years, surgery would be able to correct it. So stay calm and relax. And just wait patiently if your child is pigeon-toed.