Tibial Torsion in Children

What is tibial torsion in children?

Tibial torsion is an inward twisting of the shinbones. These bones are located between the knee and the ankle. Tibial torsion causes a child’s feet to turn inward. The child may look pigeon-toed. It is typically seen among toddlers.

What causes tibial torsion in a child?

Tibial torsion can happen because of the position of the baby in the uterus. It also tends to run in families. Typically, a child’s walking style looks like that of his or her parents.

What are the symptoms of tibial torsion in a child?

The symptoms of tibial torsion may include:

  • Inward-facing toes, or intoeing appearance
  • Bowed legs

The bowed leg stance actually helps the child stay balanced as he or she stands. Balance is not as steady when the child tries to stand and walk with the feet close together or with the feet turned out. He or she may trip and fall.

How is tibial torsion diagnosed in a child?

Your child’s healthcare provider can diagnose tibial torsion with a physical exam. During the exam, he or she may ask about your child’s birth and health history and if other family members have the condition. Your child probably will not need X-rays.

How is tibial torsion treated in a child?

Treatment will depend on your child’s symptoms, age, and general health. It will also depend on how severe the condition is.

This condition often gets better with time. As the child grows, walking will become more normal, usually around 5 to 8 years of age. If the case is severe, treatment may help straighten the shinbones. Treatment may include:

  • Braces or special shoes
  • Surgery

Key points about tibial torsion in children

  • Tibial torsion is an inward twisting of the shinbones.
  • This condition causes a child to have inward-facing toes and bowed legs.
  • It may be caused by the position of the baby in the uterus.
  • A physical exam can diagnose tibial torsion.
  • Treatment is often not needed. The condition usually improves as the child grows.
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