Has your child been walking or running differently lately? Have you noticed your kids’ feet and legs turning inwards when they are walking? Parents are usually pretty good at noticing when something is not right about their kid!
Has your child been tripping or falling a lot lately? Have you spoken with your pediatrician about it and were told that your child will outgrow this issue but you are still worried about it?
I would be worried too! Nobody likes to see their kids’ falling and walking differently than they used to!
My advice to parents is to always get a second opinion! I have seen the positive effect that a pair of good supportive shoes and orthotics can have in correcting children that are pigeon-toed, from helping them walk straighter to relieving the pain from their feet and legs!
You might be asking yourself:
What does it mean to be pigeon-toed? Kids’ who walk with their feet turned in instead of pointing straight ahead are described as being “pigeon-toed” or having “in-toeing.” Don’t panic! This condition is more common than you’d think, and it can involve one or both feet.
This issue can be easily corrected by wearing good supportive shoes and orthotics. An orthotic is an insole support or brace used to support, align, prevent, or correct the abnormal function of movable parts of the body.
I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 6 years (we specialize with kids’ that have foot issues and we provide regular fitting as well) and parents often come to the store referred by their kids’ pediatricians or physical therapists.
I want you to remember this: Pain in children feet or legs is not normal and it should NOT be ignored! When children are experiencing foot or leg pain, I recommend attacking the issue with a pair of good supportive shoes. However, if the pain persists after wearing the right pair of shoes, then we might consider getting the child a pair of orthotics as well.
In this post, I will describe the best selection of supportive shoes for kids’ who are pigeon-toed,!
The Importance Of Wearing The Right Type Of Shoes!
At the specialized children’s’ shoe store that I work for, we see hundreds of children with foot issues! I handle approximately 200 fittings/try-ons per week!
Pediatricians and physical therapists are constantly referring families to our store since we are one of the few stores in the country that specializes in fitting shoes with orthotics!
This doesn’t mean that every child who has foot issues needs orthotics. In most cases we start with a supportive shoe and observe how the child adapts. If the problem persists or doesn’t get any better, that’s when we try an orthotic!
Even though some studies claim that sneakers don’t speed up the corrective process when it comes to straighten kids’ feet and legs, I have seen the positive impact that a good supportive shoe can have for a child that is toeing-in!
It doesn’t matter how supportive your kids’ shoes are, if they are not fitted properly, your child will not get any of the benefits that the shoes have to offer! If you don’t have a local shoe store in your area that you trust, you can read a post I wrote where I describe how to make sure your child is wearing the correct shoe size! The post is called:
After fitting the child in the right pair of shoes (good arch support and a firm heel counter), I always have them walk around the shoe store to see if they are walking better or not. Generally, the impact that the shoes have in the way the child walks is quite shocking and immediate. In MOST cases, we see the child walk a lot straighter, with the shoes helping align their feet and legs!
Just so you know, if the shoes are fitted properly, they will never hurt your kids’ feet. Keep in mind that if the shoes are not helping your child walk straighter, that might be a sign that we need to try an orthotic.
However, it all starts by wearing a pair of good supportive shoes!
What Is Causing My Child’s To Pigeon Toe? – Learn The Facts!
In-toeing is believed to be genetic. There are three conditions that often cause in-toeing:
- Curved foot (metatarsus adductus)
- Twisted shin (tibia torsion)
- Twisted thighbone (femoral anteversion)
Several parents have asked me how can they identify if their child has pigeon toe ( some cases are more visible than others). I always advise them to pay attention at the way their child walks, but another good way to tell is by looking at the current shoes that the child is wearing, since they WILL show signs of unusual wear!
The picture below shows two pair of shoes of the same size, with the one on the right being a shoe that has never been worn, and the one on the left is a shoe used by a child that is pigeon toe.
Do you notice how the shoe on the right is caving in to the right? That means that the child’s feet are curving inward instead of pointing straight ahead when he walks.
Outgrowing This Condition – Attack The Problem At An Early Age!
Addressing this problem early and taking care of your kids’ feet at an early stage is CRUCIAL in keeping your kids’ feet healthy! Nevertheless, if a child’s in-toeing remains by the age of nine or ten years old, surgery may be required to correct it!
This is the reason why keeping an eye on the way your child walks is extremely important, that way you can take action at an early stage and provide them with the correct pair of supportive shoes to correct the issue.
Most parents don’t have a local kids’ shoe store that has experienced shoe fitters who can evaluate their kids’ feet and the way they walk. Taking your child to be fitted for shoes at Nordstrom, Payless, or Stride Rite is NOT good idea. In fact, you must avoid these places at all cost!
I actually wrote a post where I explain why you must STOP taking your kids’ to be fitted for shoes in those places. The post is called:
What Are The Best Shoes For My Child Who Is Pigeon Toed?
In order to improve and correct the way your children are walking, we need to find them shoes with good support and structure. By this I mean a shoe with good arch support, and a shoe that has a very firm heel counter!
Do you know what the heel counter of the shoe is? The heel counter is what provides ankle and lateral support for when your child is walking or running. Take a look at the picture below for clarification!
The firmer the heel counter, the more support your child will get. Avoid shoes with flabby heel counters, like the one showed in the picture below!
If you want to get the most support out of your kids’ shoes, you should consider getting your child a pair of shoes that come with shoe laces instead of velcro closure. Shoe laces always provide more support and more stability than shoes with velcro closures!
I want to clarify that when I mention good supportive shoes, I don’t mean special corrective shoes. I mean everyday running shoes for children that provide excellent arch and heel support!
Below you can find a list of the BEST supportive shoes for children who are pigeon-toed!
The shoes in the first-row fit “short”, which means that you need to go a whole size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes in the second-row fit “true to size”, which means that you need to go a half a size longer of the size that your child measures in the shoe measuring scale in order to allow for growing room.
The shoes described above have been proven to be the best choices when it comes to correcting the way a child walks.
PLEASE take this into consideration before choosing the right shoes: The New Balance style will fit children who have medium, wide, and extra wide feet, since they come in all different type of widths.
The Asics style will fit a child with a medium to narrow feet.
Remember that is always best to take your kid to your local children’s shoe store to have your child’s shoes properly fitted! This post is for those parents who don’t have a store to take their kids’ to be fitted for shoes.
Shoe laces should always take priority over velcro closure when it comes to choosing a sneaker, since they provide more support and more stability. What type of benefits can a good supportive sneakers provide to your child?
- It will help your child walk with his or her feet close together and legs straight.
- It will stop your child from running with his or her legs swinging out.
- It will stop your child from tripping and falling down often.
In-Toeing – How Worried Should You Be?
Some studies show that infants who have pigeon toes in early years might outgrow the condition without any necessary treatment.
However, if your baby’s in-toeing persists after six months, or if it is hard and difficult to straighten out the feet and legs, you should get a professional evaluation immediately!
This usually leads to a recommendation of good supportive shoes and maybe an orthotic to help straighten your kids’ feet and legs!
Proven Methods To Fix This Condition – Good Shoes And Stretching!
Your child’s pediatrician may have prescribed treatments such as physiotherapy. Here are some examples of exercises that can help children who are pigeon-toed!
- Have your toddler or young child sit up straight in a child-sized firm chair (children with pigeon toes tend to sit with their legs crossed naturally).
- Start by helping your child sit in a chair with his or her legs uncrossed and the feet should be flat on the floor.
- Make a trace of his or her feet in the correct slightly-outward position on a piece of paper.
- Make a game of this exercise by having your child sit in the chair with her feet in the outlines of the tracings on the paper.
Repeat this exercise as frequently as possible!!!
- Clear an area that is approximately 6 square feet in your living room or garden to avoid injuries.
- Make your kid walk backwards after showing him or her a demonstration.
- Have him follow you walking backwards.
- Continue the exercise for up to 10 to 20 minutes or as long as your child is willing to do it.
This exercise helps to strengthen the hip joints to keep your kids’ feet straight while walking.
Keep in mind that tightening of the kids’ muscle cords can be one of the causes why your child might be pronating. Make sure you stretch with your child as often as possible!!!
Make sure your child wears his or her supportive shoes as often as possible! It is really important that your kids’ remove the velcro straps or undo the shoe laces every time they take their shoes off or put them on, that way they don’t stretch the shoe and they are able to keep them in the best shape possible!
However, we both know that most children like to yank their shoes off! The problem with this is that the shoe gets less supportive every time they do it!
I wrote a post where I dig deeper into why your child must STOP doing that! I also explain how to avoid it, and you can find the post here:
When Is The Right Time To Seek Medical Advice?
You should contact your child’s pediatrician if you notice any of the following symptoms when your child walks:
- Can’t walk with their feet close together and legs straight.
- Run with their legs swinging out.
- Trip and fall more often than their peers.
- Tend to sit in a “W”-shaped position, with their knees bent and their legs flung out behind them.
I am NOT a doctor, but I have fitted shoes and orthotics for hundreds of children with pigeon toe issues at the children’s shoe store that I work for. I have learned what works and what doesn’t by testing different shoes and orthotics!
Don’t ignore your child’s foot or leg pain! Even if the pediatrician believes your child will outgrow this condition, there are simple steps that you can take to STOP your child’s foot and leg pain, and it all starts by getting them the right pair of shoes!
Something so simple such as providing your child with the correct pair of shoes can be the solution to your kids’ foot problems! I provided you with a description of the most suitable and supportive everyday shoes for a child who is pigeon-toed!
Is your child pigeon toed? Have they been experiencing leg or foot pain? What steps have you taken to stop the pain and improve the way they walk? Please share your experiences below so we can all benefit from your them!