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Feet Turn Inward When Walking

Published: May 14, 2012
Dear TeenHealthFX,
I have SUCH a big problem. Every time I walk, my feet turn inwards. I am like some sort of freak! Is there any way to get rid of this? Is this a serious problem that a doctor should look at? Help!!
Signed: Feet Turn Inward When Walking

Dear Feet Turn Inward When Walking,


It sounds like you suffer from intoeing. Intoeing is a condition where feet point inward instead of straight ahead or outward (some people call it pigeon-toed). Intoeing is very common in children and young adults and often goes away by itself. Usually this condition does not affect your ability to walk, run, or play.

One of the biggest problems with intoeing that doesn't go away is finding shoes that fit the right way.


There are three causes of intoeing in healthy children:

  • a turning in of the foot itself, called metatarsus adductus
  • an inward twisting of the shin bone called internal tibial torsion
  • an inward turning of the hip called excessive femoral anteversion

In tibial torsion, the leg bone between the knee and the ankle is twisted. This is not uncommon in young children. The bones continue to grow for at least six years and during that time often straighten out on their own. Research has shown that braces and special shoes do not help the problem.

In excessive femoral anteversion, the thigh bone is twisted. If this is what causes the child's intoeing, it will probably be diagnosed between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Again, the condition will often clear up on its own and braces and special shoes are not needed. In rare cases, surgery may be needed to put the bone back where it should be.

Intoeing by itself is not a disease and is not treated as one. Rather, the cause (see above) of the intoeing may be treated. In most cases, the condition goes away by itself.

If the condition is caused by metatarsus adductus (a curve in the foot most often seen as a sharp inward angle of the front half of the foot), a cast may be recommended. In severe cases when child is tripping and falling, the doctor may recommend surgery.

If you would like to meet with a doctor from the Adolescent/Young Adult Center For Health in Morristown, New Jersey you can call 973.971.6475 for an appointment. Otherwise, contact your local pediatric orthopedist.

Signed: TeenHealthFX