another myth...

Pigeon-toed children need leg braces

This is one of those myths that is having a hard time dying because physicians used to have all sorts of crazy contraptions to correct this until somebody figured out that brace or no brace, in-toeing (being pigeon-toed) eventually goes away.

You can in-toe from three locations on your leg: your foot, your lower leg, or your hip.

When you in-toe because of the position of your foot, itís called metatarsus adductus.  This is most common in babies and can be treated with stretching exercises that I can show you or with casts if the foot isnít flexible enough to stretch.

If you in-toe because of the position of your lower leg, called tibial torsion, then count your blessings.  It turns out that if you can keep that little twist in your lower leg, then you have an advantage running.  In fact, a pretty high percentage of good sprinters have tibial torsion.  Unfortunately, most kids who in-toe because of tibial torsion outgrow it by about 3 to 4 years of age.

In-toeing because of the position of your hip, called femoral anteversion, goes away a little more slowly, with most kids having spontaneous resolution by about  8 to 9 years of age.  And, as a life-long runner, and a child who had femoral anteversion,  I can tell you that it confers no advantage  for running.  There was some thought that femoral anteversion may lead to arthritis, but several studies have shown that this just isnít true.

The natural history of tibial torsion and femoral anteversion is that 95% or so of all kids affected will have complete and spontaneous resolution with no intervention at all.