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Intoeing (Pigeon-toe)

What is Intoeing?

Intoeing, commonly referred to as pigeon-toe, is a condition in which a child’s or adolescent’s feet point inward instead of forward while walking or running. In-toeing in children below eight years of age often resolves naturally without the need for specialised braces, surgery, or treatments.

What does Intoeing feel like?

Intoeing typically doesn’t cause physical discomfort or lead to arthritis. Children below the age of eight with intoeing usually experience no discomfort. However, if a child exhibits pain, swelling, or limping along with intoeing, it’s advisable to consult an orthopaedic surgeon for further evaluation.

What causes Intoeing?

Several conditions can lead to intoeing, including:

  • Metatarsus adductus, where the foot turns inward.
  • Tibial torsion, in which the shinbone turns inward.
  • Femoral anteversion, where the thighbone turns inward.


These conditions can occur individually or coexist with other orthopaedic problems. They may have a hereditary or genetic component, making prevention difficult in most cases.

What are the non-surgical options for Intoeing?

Most children with intoeing do not require specific treatment, as the condition often corrects itself naturally by the time they reach eight years old. In the past, treatments like braces or shoe inserts were prescribed, but they often didn’t yield significant results. It’s essential not to purchase products claiming to treat pigeon-toed conditions without a doctor’s recommendation, as they may hinder normal physical activities and may not be effective. Generally speaking, the legs will gradually realign on their own over time.

What are the surgical options for Intoeing?

Surgery for intoeing is typically considered when a child is at least 9-10 years old and exhibits severe walking abnormalities that could lead to tripping or an abnormal gait. Surgical options will be discussed during a consultation, taking into account the child’s scans and comprehensive medical history. Surgery is not commonly recommended for intoeing and is reserved for cases with significant functional issues.

Contact Us

For further inquiries or to arrange a consultation, please contact Professor Al Muderis’ office at +61 2 88829011 or book an appointment online.