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Oops! One minute she was running ahead of you toward the Pirate Ship playground structure at Pinecrest Park in Ladera Ranch, the next she was tumbling down after stumbling over her feet. You’ve noticed this before, along with the fact that your child’s foot points in instead of straight ahead when she walks. Is your daughter’s intoeing something you should be concerned about?

For the most part, no. We don’t mean that you should ignore it, but the fact is that most children outgrow the condition naturally by the time they are about 8 years old. It is caused by a twist in one of three areas:

  • The foot itself could curve toward the inside
  • The tibia in the lower leg could be twisted inward
  • The thigh bone could be turned in

In the past, podiatrists have tried bracing, special shoes, stretches and exercises to encourage the bones to achieve the correct alignment. Over time, we realized that this did not really work or help straighten the child’s legs any sooner than just letting nature take its course. As your son or daughter grows and learns to walk, the muscles will strengthen as they should and the bones will usually straighten out on their own without help.

So come in and see us to be sure there isn’t a nerve or muscle problem that should be treated, but then just keep an eye on her progress, and most likely her gait will develop normally without any more issues. If you still notice a problem when she’s older (8 or 9), or she has trouble finding shoes that fit or participating in normal activities or sports, then we can discuss possible surgery to straighten a twisted leg or foot that hasn’t corrected itself.

At Southern California Foot & Ankle Specialists, we see a lot of kids with foot or leg problems that need treatment, but intoeing usually isn’t one of them. To rule out a more serious problem, call our office in Ladera Ranch, CA at (949) 364-9255 (WALK) and set up an appointment, or fill out the contact form on our website to schedule one. We’ll help give you peace of mind and the best foot care you could expect for your child. Check us out on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, too, for more interesting foot facts and foot care tips, and to let us know how we are doing.