Pigeon-toed

What to do about your toddler's pigeon-toe walking style

Q: Our 13-month-old has been walking independently since her first birthday. However, we’ve noticed that she turns in her ankles.

A: Most infants and children have some degree of either intoeing or toeing out. At birth, this can be very marked, as the ways in which babies are packed inside the womb encourage their legs and feet to rotate toward or away from each other.

Intoeing often becomes more apparent when a child begins to walk. In most cases, it will improve as the child grows. In the meantime, it is often recommended that you discourage your child from sitting in the W-position — on the floor, with her bum between her heels — as some medical professionals believe this can make the problem worse.

Consult your doctor if the intoeing increases with age, your child complains or seems to have leg or hip pain, her feet turn in a lot even when she’s sitting on a chair, or the problem interferes with her walking (remember that she has just started to walk, so some falling is normal!). On the other hand, if the intoeing is minor and she is moving fast enough to make catching her a challenge, I wouldn’t worry.