Intoeing | Causes & Risk Factors


What causes intoeing?

There are three causes of intoeing in healthy children. They are metatarsus adductus, internal tibial torsion and excessive femoral anteversion.

What is metatarsus adductus?

Metatarsus adductus is a curve in the foot. This is best seen if you look at the sole of your child's foot. If your child has metatarsus adductus, you may notice it while he or she is still a baby. The curve in the foot is probably caused before the baby is born, when the feet are pressed into this position inside the uterus. In 9 out of 10 children with this problem, the feet straighten as the children grow up.

What is internal tibial torsion?

Internal tibial torsion is a twist in the tibia (the leg bone between the knee and the ankle). Parents usually notice internal tibial torsion about the time their child begins to walk. Some inward twist of the tibia is normal in babies. Usually this twist straightens out during the baby's first year. In some children, the twist doesn't straighten enough for the feet to point straight ahead or outward, and these are the children who still intoe when they begin walking. Leg bones usually continue to grow straighter until the child is 6 to 8 years old.

What is excess femoral anteversion?

Excess femoral anteversion is an inward twist in the femur (thigh bone). All babies are born with some inward twist of the thigh bone. This cause of intoeing usually shows up in children between the 2 and 4 years of age, after children begin walking. It can get worse during early childhood.

Written by editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 01/94