Has your child been walking or running differently lately? Are 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 kids!
If your child has been diagnosed as being pigeon toed, then you must take action immediately, since when children walk with their toes pointing inwards it can lead them to put pressure in parts of their bodies where they are not supposed to (which leads to foot and leg pain).
If your child has been tripping and falling a lot lately, you should consult with your physical or occupation therapist.
The first step before making the trip your doctor is to make sure that your child is wearing the correct type of shoes.
I have been working for a children’s shoe store for over 10 years now where we specialize with kids’ that have foot and leg issues, but we provide regular fittings as well. Parents often come to the store referred by their kids’ pediatricians or physical therapists.
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 they might be experiencing.
Let’s start by clarifying 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 can be easily corrected by wearing good supportive shoes and orthotics.
I always emphasize to parents to never ignore their kids’ foot and leg pain. 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.
I have been helping parents find their kids’ shoes online for the last three years now.Let me show you a selection of the best shoes for kids’ who are pigeon-toed!
Pigeon Toe Treatment – Your Kids’ Shoes Play a Key Role!
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 thats 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!
Let me prove it to you…
Here is a picture of a child that is pigeon-toed wearing a pair of unsupportive shoes. Do you notice how her feet are turning inwards?
Now let’s take a look at a picture of the same child wearing a pair of supportive shoes. Do you notice how her feet look straighter?
A pair of supportive shoes can make a tremendous difference in improving your child’s posture and allowing him/her to walk and run straighter!
I am always emphasizing to parents that 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 should START by reading an article I wrote where I describe the simplest, yet most effective way to figure out your child’s foot size from home:
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 straighter. 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 right away, with the shoes helping align their feet and legs!
What is Causing your Child 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.
What Are the Best Shoes for your Child Who is Pigeon Toed?
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 your child with the correct pair of supportive shoes.
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 that appears 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 shoelaces instead of Velcro closure. Shoelaces 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 shoes for children who are pigeon-toed.The shoes below will fit a child that has narrow, medium, wide or extra wide feet (as long as you choose the width accordingly).
This selection of shoes 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 standard foot measuring scale (Brannock device) in order to allow for growing room.
Remember that is always best to take your kid to your local children’s shoe store to be properly fitted for shoes. These shoe recommendations are for parents who don’t have a local kids’ store.
Here are some of the benefits that these shoe styles will provide for your child:
- They will help your child walk with his or her feet close together and legs straight.
- They will prevent your child from running with his or her legs swinging out.
- They will prevent your child from tripping and falling down often.
In-Toeing – How Worried Should you Be?
Some studies show that infants who are pigeon-toed 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 Exercises!
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.
Let’s Keep your Kids’ Shoes as Supportive as Possible!
It is really important that your kids’ always undo the shoelaces when 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…
Please remind your child toto always take off his or her shoes properly.
Orthotics for Pigeon Toe – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!
If you have tried a pair of supportive shoes (for a period of three months) and your child is still in-toeing, then you might want to try a pair of orthotics.
Orthotics will help improve your kids’ posture and reduce or completely eliminate the excess stress on their knees and hip joints. While I don’t discuss the importance of providing your kids’ with orthotics in as much detail in this article, I have written another article with a video where I describe the best orthotics for children that are pigeon-toed. You can find that article here:
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!
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!