It’s a common parental concern we hear as a physiotherapist working with children, are “my kids toes turned in” or “I notice that one foot turns in and the other doesn’t”. There can be many reasons for noticing this in your child and a lot of it can be resolved with time and observation. We’re going to talk you through some of the reasons why you may be noticing this in your growing child. We’re going to be setting up a series of blogs over the next few weeks. They’ll go into depth about each of these causes and how they may be affecting your child’s foot position.

When we assess a child who presents with concerns regarding inward toes there are 3 key areas we look at: The Foot, knee and hips.

When assessing your child, we are looking to see if their forefoot is turned inwards. This is called metatarsus adductus. This is where the foot is curved inwards towards the body’s midline. A baby can present with this at birth depending on how they were positioned in the uterus. In most cases the foot can be moved freely and be repositioned in the correct place. In this case the foot improves without treatment by the age of 2-3. (Victorian paediatric orthopaedic network). In the cases where their feet may need some extra assistance, stretches, shoe inserts or even casting may be required to correct the position.

The knee is the next place we would assess. There are 2 bones in your shin that connect your foot to your knee. They are known as the tibia and fibula. In children the shin bone (tibia) can be rotated inwards. This can be common in infancy and childhood and will usually correct itself by the time the child reaches 8 years old. (Victorian Paediatric Orthopaedic Network). In the case of tibial torsion, we as the physio will watch and monitor your child’s development to ensure that they are not having difficulty with their function and are able to participate in their environment uninhibited.

The hip is the final part of the lower limb we assess. The bone that connects your knee to your hip is the largest bone in the human body. It is called the femur, and similar to the tibia, it can rotate inwards, thus turning the knees and toes inward. This is normal in young children and usually corrects itself by the time your child is 10. (Victorian Paediatric Orthopaedic Network.)

As you can see, in-toeing in your child can be a normal part of their development. However, if you find that it:

  • Affects only one leg
  • Is severe and not improving with time
  • Causes trips that is affecting participation in your school aged child
  • Their feet are stiff and not improving with time

It is best to consult your doctor.