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Can intoeing, or "pigeon toes", cause a delay in a baby learning to walk?

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Many babies have a slight intoeing, also called pigeon toes, when they are born. This usually disappears during their toddler years.

Pigeon toes are often caused by a condition called metatarsus adductus. This is a curve in the whole foot itself, usually created by the baby's position in the womb before birth. You can see metatarsus adductus when you look at the soles of your baby's feet. They will curve toward each other like two half-moons.

Doctors disagree about whether to put foot braces on a child with severe pigeon toes. Some doctors advise bracing or casting if the feet are still severely curved when a child is four to six months old. The brace or cast is usually removed when a baby starts to walk. Other doctors do not feel that bracing helps pigeon toes or speeds up the development of the feet and legs toward a more true alignment.

If your baby's knees point straight ahead with intoeing, your baby may have internal tibial torsion. This condition is caused by an inward turning of the tibia (lower leg bone). It usually resolves itself as a baby learns to walk. If it doesn't, seek medical advice about possible treatment. If your baby's knees point inward with intoeing, your baby may have a condition called excess femoral anteversion. This condition is caused by an inward turning of the whole femur (upper leg bone). Again, it usually resolves itself as a baby learns to walk. If it doesn't, seek medical advice about possible treatment.


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