A child who is just beginning to walk is quite a sight. They are so into those first giant steps. And you, the proud parent, are just as into it as they are. Precious moments indeed.
But what if those first steps are impeded? Suppose you suddenly realize for the first time your toddler is pigeon-toed, and it is interfering with his or her walking? How can you be certain they are pigeon-toed. And is there something you can do about it?
The question also is raised about whether or not the child is in any pain or discomfort. A severely pigeon-toed and bow-legged child surely looks to be uncomfortable. And are there any treatments?
Just like any other childhood concerns you may have, the proper information goes a long way. A long way in understanding what, why, and how as it pertains to your little one. And as it pertains to being pigeon-toed.
Is my toddler pigeon-toed? The question and hopefully, some insight into the deep-diving exploration of toddler-hood.
What exactly is pigeon-toed?
A child’s toes which point inward, toward one another, is referred to as being pigeon-toed. Parents may be concerned about their child, but there is no cause for alarm. Being pigeon-toed is common, painless, and is present in children up to 7 or possibly eight years of age.
The pigeon-toed effect can be on one or both feet. It is an anomaly that occurs in the mother’s womb, and there is nothing to do to prevent it. Most cases usually correct themselves over time and without treatment.
What causes the pigeon-toed condition?
As mentioned, the usual cause is from an anomaly within the womb of the mother. The womb or certain birthing positions such as breech are the cause in more extreme cases.
A certain position the child is in the womb can cause the foot to have a half-moon sort of appearance. It looks to be normal from the ankle to the back part of the foot. It is like the foot was in a crumpled position for too long.
If a child is born in the ‘breech’ position, facing the wrong way, they are more likely to be pigeon-toed. There could also be a family history of being pigeon-toed.
Can a parent help to correct the condition?
A child’s foot is very flexible, and potential foot problems can be easily fixed. The condition of pigeon-toed usually corrects itself with time.
Should you realize your child is pigeon-toed, you can try a bit of home therapy. Firmly but gently grasp the child’s foot. The bottom of their foot should fit nicely in the palm of your hand. Gently twist the foot to a ‘normal position and hold for a few seconds. Doing the exercise over and over, more and more, can cause the foot muscles to be trained to take the proper position.
The foot holding and turning therapy have not been proven actually to cure the problem. However, it has not been determined to be harmful either. Parents have found success with these exercises.
When to consult a doctor:
For the most part, pigeon-toed conditions repair themselves over time. However, should the condition not repair itself by age 7 or 8, there may be an underlying problem.
If your child seems to be more prone to falls and stumbling, there also may be problems elsewhere in the foot or leg.
If the pigeon-toed child concerns you early on, have the child’s doctor made aware during routine exams? He or she can explain in more detail what is available here. And perhaps set your mind at ease.
Can being pigeon toed cause further problems?
A pigeon-toed child is often bow-legged as well. The general concern is the bow-legged condition causes the pigeon-toed condition. And vice-versa.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. While it is true pigeon-toed children are often bow-legged, A normal healthy child should grow out of both. It may be tough learning to walk, run, jump, climb, and so on. But non-related.
The exception to the previous would be when the child has other more serious, more involved problems. Bow-legged and pigeon-toed are a life long fixture for a child born with severe Downs Syndrome or Dwarfism. Conditions are both earmarked by the two leg-foot conditions. However, these type conditions are not the direct result of being pigeon-toed.
Just for the parent’s sake…
It is worth mentioning again about the pigeon-toed condition. The following is not what pigeon toed is:
- Being pigeon-toed is not painful.
- Not harmful.
- Not a concern to worry over.
The toes simply point in, and it will resolve itself. A child with pigeon toes should be more than able to lead a complete and happy life. They suffer no apparent movement problems or any type of gait problems.
It will not affect them later in life. It may require the use of special shoes if not resolved by age 7. The most evident signs of correction should begin to appear around age 5 to 6.
The plain and simple takeaway from our discussion is easily explained. The parent of a pigeon-toed child is more likely to suffer more from worrying about it than the child suffers period. It seems to be a far more likely event to cause concern more than anything else.
Relax. Don’t worry. Be the awesome parent you are, above all else.
I was a pigeon-toed child. And to my knowledge, I turned out okay. The jury may still be out on my being okay. But a child with a pigeon-toed foot or feet is of no cause for worry, concern, or otherwise.
Who knows, the proper treatment may just be lots of love and affection.