Intoeing gait often makes a child’s feet turn inwards as he walks or runs. Hence, the feet of a child with intoeing gait do not point straight ahead as he walks or runs. The deformity can occur to children of any age due to varying reasons. But the parents can easily notice intoeing as a child starts walking or running. Intoeing often corrects itself as a child grows. Also, the child does not experience any pain due to intoeing gait. The parents still need to diagnose and treat the child properly if intoeing persists beyond eight years of age.
Intoeing gait is caused due to any of three reasons – metatarsus adductus, femoral anteversion and tibial torsio. Metatarsus adductus makes the child’s feet turn inward, whereas femoral anteversion makes the child’s thighbone turns inward. At the same time, femoral anteversion makes the child’s shinbone turns inward. A child may also develop intoeing gait due to orthopaedic, genetic, or developmental problems.
Normally, intoeing corrects itself by 8 to 10 years of age. But the parents must avail the assistance of a skilled orthopaedic if the symptoms persist beyond the age of 8. The common symptoms of intoeing gait are feet, thighbone, or shinbone turning inward when a child walks or runs. Some children even experience problems in walking, along with limping, swelling, or pain.
An experienced orthopaedic can easily diagnose intoeing gait by examining the child’s leg, feet, thighbone, or shinbone. However, he may recommend CT scan to observe the alignment of leg bones. Likewise, the orthopaedic may also observe the child’s leg bones in motion based on X-ray images or video.
As intoeing gait corrects itself, the experienced orthopaedic do not treat children till the age of 8 to 10. But they try to treat the child non-surgically if the symptoms of intoeing gait persist beyond the age of 8. Initially, the orthopaedic treat intoeing gait by making the child wear casts or corrective shoes. They realign the shinbone or thigh bone of the child surgically if the non-surgical treatment fails. However, the orthopedic perform the surgery only in older children.
The recovery period differs based on symptoms and treatment of intoeing gait. Normally, the deformity corrects itself as the child grows. But the orthopaedic will require the child to wear casts or corrective shoes for a specific period of time till his shinbone or thigh bone point straight ahead as he walks or runs. On the other hand, the surgery will require the child to rest his legs for a specific amount of time before he starts walking normally.