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Pigeon Toes (Tibial Torsion)

Tibial torsion is an inward twisting of the shin bones (the bones that are located between the knee and the ankle). Tibial torsion causes the child’s feet to turn inward, or have what is known as a “pigeon-toed” appearance. It is typically seen among toddlers.

What causes pigeon toes?

Tibial torsion can occur due to the position of the baby in the uterus. It also has a tendency to run in families.

When the child is first learning how to walk, tibial torsion can create an intoeing appearance. As the feet toe in, the legs look like they are bowed.

How is pigeon toes diagnosed?

The diagnosis of tibial torsion is made by a history and physical exam by your child’s doctor. Typically, the diagnosis can be made without an X-ray.

How is pigeon toes treated?

The twisting of the shin bones usually improves with time. As the child grows, walking will become more normal, usually around 5 years of age.

What is the long-term outlook for a child with pigeon toes?

Tibial torsion has a very good prognosis. Many cases correct themselves as the child grows. On rare occasions, tibial torsion can be severe and surgery may be required to straighten the shin bones.

It is important to know that tibial torsion does not lead to arthritis or any other future health problems.