Q&A: Should I be concerned about my toddler's pigeon toes?
I'm worried about the way my child has been walking recently. Should I be concerned about my toddler's pigeon toes?
So-called “pigeon toes”—also known as “in-toeing”—is actually quite commonly seen in young children. It usually becomes more noticeable as kids develop their walking skills between toddlerhood and kindergarten, with estimates as high as 30 percent of 4-year-olds affected. It has a tendency to run in families, be the result of how babies are positioned in the uterus, and is most often caused by one of three normal variations in growth and development in either the foot (metatarsus adductus), the lower leg (tibial torsion), or the hip (femoral anteverision). While pigeon toes can understandably be disconcerting for parents—especially because they have a tendency to cause children to trip or fall over their feet (especially when tired)—the good news is that in-toeing most often resolves on its own without the need for any intervention, rarely continues into adolescence, and seldom causes functional problems even if it persists into adulthood.
With all of that said, it’s definitely important to have any child with in-toeing examined by a pediatrician or other qualified health professional, just to make sure that there are no signs or symptoms of any of the much less common causes of in-toeing that could require treatment. It’s also worth noting that in-toeing is characteristically painless, so any associated pain or limping should be considered a red flag and brought to a doctor’s attention for further evaluation.