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My Child is “Pigeon Toed”, is this Bad? The Facts Behind Intoeing in Children

Intoeing, sometimes referred to as being “pigeon-toed”, is a relatively common condition that primarily effects toddlers and children and can involve one or both feet. Intoeing is typically first noticed when children begin walking. However, there are cases when intoeing presents itself later on in childhood.

In many cases, intoeing doesn’t interfere with a child’s activities. Conversely, more severe cases of intoeing can cause children to trip or stumble on their feet, hindering their ability and confidence to engage in certain sports or activities. These incidences may become more frequent when walking on uneven surfaces, when running, or when the child is tired or distracted.

Intoeing Toddler

There are a number of causes for intoeing in children ranging from alignment problems such as metatarsus adductus (toes shifted inwards), internal tibial rotation (shin’s rotated inwards), or excessive femoral anteversion (hips rotated inwards). Intoeing can also be caused or exacerbated by weak or overstretched muscles of the hip such as the extensors and external rotators of the hip.

In some cases, intoeing can resolve itself automatically with time. Some, however, require other interventions ranging from physiotherapy and exercise plans to surgical interventions in extreme cases.

Child Physiotherapy

An assessment by one of our physiotherapist can help determine the source of the intoeing and consecutively create a personalized treatment plan to address the specific areas of concern. The role and efficacy of physiotherapy for your child will be determined and discussed with you so as to keep you fully involved in your child’s treatment.

Physiotherapy for intoeing focuses on attaining ideal alignment through gentle mobilizations as well as fun and engaging exercises that aim to strengthen specific muscle groups that may be stretched or weakened. Education regarding positions and activities to avoid, such as “W-sitting”, will also be discussed with both the child and family.

If you have concerns or questions about your child’s intoeing, or if they’re feet are getting in the way of their everyday activities, give us a call at 613-424-7852 for email us at info@bellefleurphysio.com to book a one-on-one assessment with a physiotherapist.

Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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