For many parents, that moment when their child takes their first step is a moment they will cherish for the rest of their life. That first shaky step turns into a few steps in succession and next thing you know you’re chasing them as they run all over the living room. And if you’re like a lot of parents, maybe you noticed that your child’s feet appear to be turned inward or outward at a slight angle.
Is this normal and something that they’ll grow out of, or should you bring it up to the pediatrician so that their feet develop properly? We take a closer look at in-toeing and out-toeing in today’s blog.
Are In-toeing and Out-toeing A Problem?
Here’s a closer look at both in-toeing and out-toeing:
In-toeing – In-toeing occurs when the tibia tilts inward. Sometimes the condition is caused by an inward turning of the femur which also tilts the tibia, and other times it’s caused by a curvature in the foot that turns them slightly inward. Both of these conditions can also occur as a result of how the child was positioned in the womb.
Out-toeing – On the flip side, out-toeing occurs when the tibia tilts outward. It can be caused by an outward twisting femur, or it can be caused by flat foot issues in your child.
The good news is that for the vast majority of toddlers, in-toeing and out-toeing is not a big deal. Kids tend to grow out of it as their bones develop, but it’s worth monitoring just to make sure your child isn’t an exception.
One way we recommend to do this is by viewing video clips of your child walking. Nowadays it seems like everyone has a smartphone that can take videos, and if you’re a parent of a toddler, you probably have plenty of videos of them walking and running around. These shifts back to a more natural gait will occur very slowly over months and even years of growth, so they are easier to spot if you have videos to review over that time period. If you take a video of your child walking every other month, odds are you’ll notice some positive changes when reviewing the clips, even if you don’t notice changes on a day-to-day basis.
But what should you do if your child still has a noticeable in-toeing or out-toeing gait by the age of three? That’s when you’ll want to mention it to your pediatrician. Three isn’t some perfect date where every kid is walking perfectly, but it is a good time to take a closer look at their bone development to see if any interventions are necessary. Surgery to correct the issue is very rare and typically only reserved for cases of femoral twisting. Again, most cases resolve on their own, so watchful waiting is typically all tha