Intoeing (pigeon toes) factsheet


Most people walk with their toes and feet pointing straight ahead. Some children's feet turn inwards when they walk. This is called intoeing or being pigeon-toed.

In most cases, intoeing will correct on their own around the age of 8 -10 years old. Children with intoeing should not have any issues with physical activity and movement and are no more likely to get arthritis or back problems than anyone else.

 Signs and symptoms

Children with intoeing walk with their feet pointing in. They can tend to trip a bit more than other children early on, but this can change as they get older.


Your child’s doctor will be able to diagnose intoeing based on how their feet look.

If you are concerned about your child’s intoeing, you can take photographs or videos of your child walking every six months to keep a record of the changes.

See your local doctor if you think your child's intoeing is getting worse as they grow, or they are having difficulties with movement and physical activity.


Generally, there is no treatment to improve intoeing other than waiting for your child to grow out of it. Your child’s bones will develop and correct as they grow.

There is no need to try to change your child’s walking or sitting as this will not alter their development and can lead to frustration and anxiety.

Your child’s doctor will let you know what condition is causing the intoeing, and whether there are any special treatment options available.


Common causes of intoeing

There are three common causes of intoeing:

Tibial torsion 

This is when the shinbone, or tibia, becomes twisted. The twist can be caused by the way your baby was positioned during pregnancy. The bone slowly untwists as the child grows. Usually, the twist is gone by school age.

Femoral anteversion 

This is when the thigh bone, or femur, is twisted inwards. This usually corrects itself, more slowly, by 9-10 years old. In some children this doesn't correct fully, meaning they will have intoeing as an adult.  

Metartasus adductus 

This is when the feet are curved inwards. Most children with this condition will get better without treatment. Some children who have a more severe case may need a brace or special shoes to help their feet develop in early childhood.

Last updated Monday 11th December 2023


This factsheet is provided for general information only. It does not constitute health advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat any health condition.

Please consult with your doctor or other health professional to make sure this information is right for you and/or your child.

The Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network does not accept responsibility for inaccuracies or omissions, the interpretation of the information, or for success or appropriateness of any treatment described in the factsheet.

© Sydney Children’s Hospitals Network 2024