Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children – Let’s Improve Your Child’s Walking Gait

Have you noticed your child walking with his or her feet pointing inwards instead of straight ahead? Pigeon toe (in-toeing) is a common condition that causes children’s toes to point inwards. It can involve one or both feet. Children will often grow out of this condition on their own, but some may need orthotic inserts in their shoes to improve their gait and stability. Let’s take a look at the best orthotics for pigeon toed children.

I have helped several children with pigeon toe straighten out their gait by fitting them in the correct type of shoes and orthotics. Through this article, I hope to guide any family looking for the best orthotics to help correct pigeon toe. While I am not a doctor, I know which shoes and orthotics work best for pigeon toed children as I work for a specialized children’s shoe store.

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Pro Tip: If you’re pressed for time here is a list of the most effective orthotics for children who are dealing with pigeon toes.

Please trust your parental intuition if you notice something off about your child’s feet and/or walking gait. You know when there is something wrong with your child, you are living with the child, not your doctor.

I have noticed that there is a lot of confusion and difference of opinion on both the necessity for treatment and its effectiveness. There is actually one specific orthotic that has proven to be the most effective one in significantly reducing pigeon toes and the frequency of tripping, and I will show you this orthotic shortly.

Keep in mind that it’s highly likely that if left untreated, pigeon toes might produce a problem sometime later in your child’s life. It might not be on the foot, it might be on the knee, the hip, the back, all of the structures and joints above the feet depend on the feet!

What is Causing Your Child to Walk Pigeon Toed?

  • Metatarsus adductus (the foot bones turn inward)
  • Tibial torsion (the shinbone turns inward)
  • Femoral anteversion (the thigh bone turns inward)

The gait plate orthotic I recommend will help treat your child’s in-toeing no matter where it stems from (foot, shinbone, or thigh bone).

What Are the Risk Factors of Being Pigeon Toed?

Pigeon-toe may lead to excessive pronation issues such as:

  • Difficulty running and jumping
  • An unbalanced gait, causing your child to fall more often
  • Foot deformities including bunions, hammertoes, and flat feet

Will Your Child Outgrow Pigeon-Toes? – The Importance of Taking Early Action!

While many children grow out of a pigeon-toed stance, some do not.

Children between the ages of 1 and 5 are undergoing rapid neuromuscular development. Pigeon toes during these years can often be managed with proper foot orthotics and footwear. Unresolved pigeon toes after age 5, although still manageable, can become a bit more difficult to control.

Furthermore, surgery may be required if a child’s in-toeing does not resolve by the age of 9 or 10.

What Are the Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children?

I recommend littleSTEPS® Gait Plates for children with pigeon toe. These semi-rigid, prefabricated gait plates can greatly improve the foot posture and step of a child with pigeon toe.

There are two key features this orthotic provides:

1️⃣ Deep Heel Cups: Provides foot support and helps to control heel and lower leg alignment

2️⃣ Medial Rearfoot Posting: Helps control foot pronation (inward rolling of the foot)

Best Orthotics for Pigeon Toed Children

Do You Need to Remove the Original Insoles of Your Kids’ Shoes?

You will not need to remove the original insoles of your child’s shoes before placing these orthotics inside.

What Orthotic Size Should You Order?

The size chart below shows what gait plate size to order based on your child’s shoe size:

size-orthotics

Don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any further questions regarding what gait plate size to order: fittingchildrensshoes@gmail.com

What a Difference These Orthotics Can Make!

Before Image

Let’s take a look at an image from the front of a child with pigeon toes standing barefoot:

Child with pigeon toe standing barefoot

After Image

The image below shows the same child wearing a pair of the gait plate orthotics I recommend with supportive shoes. What a difference the correct type of orthotics and shoes can make!

Same child wearing a pair of littleSTEPS® Gait Plates and supportive shoes

Now let’s take a look at another example of a different child with pigeon toes standing barefoot:

Child with pigeon toe standing barefoot

Let’s see what happens when we fit that same child in a pair of supportive shoes and orthotics I recommend. Wow! What a difference the correct type of shoes and orthotics can make!

Same child wearing a pair of littleSTEPS® Gait Plates and supportive shoes

What Are the Best Shoes for Pigeon Toed Children?

Below is a selection of shoes that provide these three important features, making them ideal for children who wear orthotics. All of these shoes are available in different widths such as medium (M), wide (W), and extra wide (XW), so please choose the shoe width accordingly.

The method I use to tie shoes for children who wear orthotics is the one I learned from a co-worker who has over 20 years of experience fitting children’s shoes.

What Makes the Shoes I Recommend Ideal for Pigeon Toed Children?

1️⃣ Straight Lasts: The “last” of a shoe (either curved or straight) determines the shoe’s overall shape. Shoes with a straight last are ideal as they keep feet in the proper position, which is especially important for correcting in-toeing.

children's-shoes-with-straight-lasts

2️⃣ Substantial Outsoles: Provides a stable and supportive base for the medial arch and forefoot

supportive-shoes-for-children-with-flat-feet

3️⃣ Firm Heel Counters: This is the part of the shoe that provides ankle and heel support. Take a look at the difference between a shoe with a soft heel counter versus a shoe with a firmer one. Always press on the heel counter of your kids’ shoes and make sure it feels firm instead of soft:

children's-shoes-with-heel-support

Taking Early Action Might Prevent Surgery

It’s important to take early action because if in-toeing doesn’t resolve before the child reaches 9 to 10 years of age, internal tibial torsion may require surgery.