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.
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.”
This condition is more common than you’d think and can be easily corrected by wearing good supportive shoes and orthotics.
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).
The correct type of shoes and in some cases orthotics, can have a tremendous impact in improving the way your child walks and runs. So before you decide to take your child to the foot doctor, I recommend that you try a pair of supportive shoes first and see what a difference they can make.
I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years now, and I know everything that relates to children’s shoes and the way they fit. This is a specialized shoe store that focuses on children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well. We carry some of the most supportive children’s shoes and orthotics, and I am familiar with which shoe brands and which shoe styles are better than others.
Parents often come to the store referred by their kids’ pediatricians or physical/occupational 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 have been experiencing.
I always emphasize to parents to never ignore their kids’ foot and leg pain. When children are experiencing foot or leg pain, I recommend treating the condition with a pair of good supportive shoes. However, if the pain persists after wearing the right pair of shoes, then we might consider providing the child with a pair of orthotics as well.
The most effective pigeon toe treatment involves wearing the correct pair of shoe. I will show you a selection of the best shoes for kids who are pigeon-toed, but first I want you to know what features these shoes will provide and how to figure out your child’s foot size from home.
Pigeon Toe Treatment – What a Difference the Shoes Make!
At the specialized children’s’ shoe store that I work for, we help hundreds of children with foot issues. I handle approximately 200 fittings/try-ons per week.
Pediatricians and physical therapists are constantly referring families to the 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 and doesn’t improve, 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.
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 the feet are collapsing and 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 the feet look much straighter?
A pair of supportive shoes can make a tremendous difference in improving your children’s posture and allowing them 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.
That is the reason why I always recommend parents to take their children to their local fitting children’s shoe store that they trust, the issue is that most fitting stores have been closing down and parents need to end up buying their kids’ shoes online. There is nothing wrong with this, but you must know your child’s exact foot size in order to know what size to order.
I created a map that showcases the best fitting children’s shoe stores by state, so I suggest you start by taking a look at that map:
If after looking at that map you still can’t seem to identify a shoe store in your area, then proceed to taking a look at an article along with a video I created that describes 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
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 two shoe styles standing aside by side, with the one on the right being a shoe that has never been worn, and the one on the left is a shoe that has bee worn by a child that is pigeon toe.
Do you notice how the shoe on theft is caving in to the right? That means that when the child is walking the feet are curving inwards instead of pointing straight ahead.
What Are the Best Shoes for a Child Who is Pigeon Toed?
Addressing this condition from an early stage is crucial in keeping your kids’ feet and legs healthy. Nevertheless, if a child’s in-toeing remains by the age of 9 or 10 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 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 and soft 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 closure.
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.
The Best Shoes for Pigeon Toe Treatment ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I only write reviews of shoe styles that I have fitted before, otherwise I wouldn’t know how well-made they are, the amount of support that they provide, and how they fit.
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 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.
Here are some of the benefits that these shoe styles will provide for your children:
- They will help your children walk with their feet close together and legs straight.
- They will prevent your children from running with their legs swinging out.
- They will prevent your children 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 child’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.
2 Exercises That Will Help Treat this Condition ❤️
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:
First Exercise ❤️
- 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.
Second Exercise ❤️
- 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 overpronating. Make sure you stretch with your child as often as possible.
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. Go to the link below:
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.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you ever have trouble finding a particular shoe style for your child. I always emphasize to parents that it doesn’t matter how narrow or wide your kids’ feet are, there is always at least one particular shoe style out there that will fit the shape of your kids’ feet perfectly, and I will help you find it.
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!