Pigeon toes, often known as in toeing involves a series of conditions or muscle imbalances that cause you to walk with your toes pointing inwards.
What Are Pigeon Toes?
In children, pigeon toes may develop in the womb, due to a tight uterine position, your baby may develop metatarsus adductus (a condition where the front of the foot points inwards) or talipes (club foot).
In adults, walking pigeon toed is usually due to a muscular imbalance or an increased internal tibial torsion (twisting of the shin bone) or femoral anteversion (inward twisting of the thigh bone).
Causes of Pigeon Toes
In babies, the common cause of pigeon toe is the limited space in the womb, causing your child to develop with metatarsus adductus (a condition where the child’s toes point inward).
Other congenital conditions which may cause your child to have pigeon feet is club foot (talipes equinovarus), or cerebral palsy.
When your child begins walking, femoral anteversion (twisting of the thigh bone) can cause your child’s feet and knees to turn inwards. Normal femoral anteversion at birth is between 30-40 degrees, this normally reduces to around 15 degrees by the age of 8 when most children grow out of walking with their feet turned in.
Allowing your young child to “W” sit is also a large contributing factor towards pigeon toes as it encourages the hips to remain in an internal position.
Children and adults with a leg length discrepancy will often walk with the shorter leg’s foot turned in to lengthen the shorter leg.
Poor footwear choices such as unsupportive or soft footwear with no midsole stability can lead to in toe, as this forces the intrinsic muscles within the foot to work harder. Also poorly fitted shoes can lead to gait anomalies such as in toe.
Pigeon Toes without Treatment
If left untreated, pigeon toes can cause pain and difficulties in other areas of the body, such as your ankles, knees, hips or lower back.
Adults who walk pigeon toed usually have muscle imbalances, such as tight calf muscles, hamstrings and adductors, and often a weakness in one or all of their quadriceps muscles.
Treatment of Pigeon Toes
The team at Erica Dash Podiatry are able to offer a wide range of treatment options to correct pigeon toes. At your initial appointment your podiatrist will conduct a thorough physical examination including taking a detailed family history.
Throughout your biomechanical assessment you can expect the podiatrist to perform joint range of motion and muscle strength assessments as well as a detailed gait assessment to offer you the best treatment.
Using their unique European orthotics, which are customised by your podiatrist and delivered to you within the hour, the team at Erica Dash Podiatry are usually able to correct pigeon toes on the same day without surgery or the need for special shoes.
Orthotics to Correct Pigeon Toes
If orthotics alone don’t work, or you are seeking a different treatment modality, some team members have done further studies and offer dry needling to correct muscle imbalances, or mobilisation therapy to achieve proper alignment of your feet, legs and hip by using your own muscle energy.
If you are after one of these services, it is important to mention your treatment preference when booking your appointment.
Orthopaedic surgery is not the first treatment option at Erica Dash Podiatry, your podiatrist will always try conservative treatments first. However in rare cases, referral to a podiatric surgeon or an orthopaedic surgeon may be necessary.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Can An Ingrown Toenail Heal Itself?
Not usually. An ingrown toenail will generally become worse if left untreated, or treated with oral antibiotics alone (this is because there is a tiny spickule of nail which has pierced the skin and without treatment will continue to grow into the skin).
An ingrown toenail will require skillful removal of the offending nail, this can be done at Erica Dash Podiatry, usually painlessly without the need for local anaesthesia.
If surgery is required, the team of podiatrists at Erica Dash Podiatry are able to perform a procedure called a “partial nail avulsion (PNA)”, or in rare circumstances a “total nail avulsion (TNA)”.
I Have Had A Course Of Antibiotics, Why Do I Still Have Pain?
Oral antibiotics prescribed by the doctor will only settle the infection, not the cause of your ingrown toenail.
Unless you visit the clinic to have the cause of your infection (the small spike of toenail) removed, you will be at risk of more infections and of course your pain will persist.
How Can I Treat An Ingrown Toenail At Home?
One of the best ways to avoid infected ingrown toenails is to wear shoes wide and deep enough to not put pressure on your toes.
Cut your toenails straight across and file them into the corners. Filing your toenails ensures the nail edge is smooth The diagram below shows correct nail cutting.
Be sure not to cut your toenails too short, as the nail edge will be prone to growing into the surrounding skin.
Can A Podiatrist Prescribe Oral Antibiotics?
Most registered podiatrists are unable to prescribe antibiotics. You would need to consult your doctor for an oral antibiotic prescription to settle your infection.
Your podiatrist can however remove the offending nail and create relief from your pain.
Shockwave is a great alternative to treatments such as dry needling if you’re needle phobic and not keen on dry needling. We also have effective treatment offers for kids.