Podiatrists Treating In-Toeing
Gait problems that develop when a child is young can have long lasting consequences, which is why the specialty of podopaediatrics has such an important role to play in modern childcare. In-toeing is a condition which can present as children begin to take their first steps, and while in most cases, the condition resolves itself as a child learns how to balance and control their steps, in some instances in-toeing can persist and pose a concern for the future health and mobility of young children.
What is in-toeing?
Also referred to as pigeon-toeing, in-toeing is one of the most common childhood foot issues, making it a major focus for podopaediatricians (podiatrists specialising in childcare) today. In-toeing isn’t a diagnosis as such, it is more of a symptom of other issues with the foot when it persists, and podiatrists are invaluable in determining the case of this characteristic gait abnormality and then treating it.
In-toeing is most usually caused by an abnormality in the bone structure of the foot or ankle, or by a problem with the way the lower limb is moving. In some cases in-toeing may be a consequence of the two. Examples of in-toeing caused by skeletal abnormalities are clubfoot (talipes equinovarus), while examples of movement issues include neurological issues like cerebral palsy.
It is extremely important that a podiatrist or doctor determine the cause of in-toeing before proceeding with any treatment. If the condition is caused by a structural issue then treatment of the foot through manipulation, exercise, stretching, and orthoses will prove extremely effective. However for these techniques to work to the best of their ability, the exact nature of the skeletal problem needs to be determined so that these measures can specifically target the exact deformities affecting movement.
If in-toeing is caused by another condition like a neurological problem, then care for the underlying condition is extremely important, particularly as many of these conditions will have far reaching consequences. Even if in-toeing is caused by a neurological problem, podiatric care can hugely benefit a child and help them recover regular mobility and gait.
Podopaediatric care is readily available from the NHS in most Trusts across the UK. The usual route to NHS podiatric care is through a GP referral, and if your child’s in-toeing has persisted beyond the age of 3 and is causing them pain and discomfort, it is likely that you will have access to free NHS treatment. Private podiatric care is also an option in the UK, however if you are using a private service you should make sure that it is licensed and registered with the Health and Care Professions Council.
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