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19-Month Old Is "Pigeon-toed" - Any Advice?

Hello ladies...I'm looking for some advice. I have a 19-month old boy who is what I call "pigeon-toed" (his feet turn in). He's been walking since he turned one, so obviously it hasn't slowed him down, but I feel like it really trips him up sometimes. He'll be walking along and then just fall down. My pediatrician is obviously aware of it and doesn't seem concerned. His advice was "don't let anyone talk you into expensive shoes - plenty of great athletes were born with this condition". He doesn't feel there's anything that we should be doing. I totally trust my dr. and am planning to discuss it with him again at our next appointment to be sure he still feels the same way. But in the meantime, I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this type of thing and what, if anything, they did to correct it. Thanks in advance!

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My best friend since the 5th grade walked "pigeon-toed" (that's when I learned the expression) and still does now. She always wore just regular nice shoes, and is just fine. By the way, we're both 62!

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My 2nd daughter was bow legged and when she was 16 months old we packed her up to the orthopedic specialist, had her xrayed, fitted with special shoes to help aline her legs correctly and a special brace to go on her feet at night while she slept to aline her legs correctly. It was a nightmare. She couldn't roll over at night so she woke crying 5-10 times every night. The shoes hurt her feet so she didn't want to walk at all. After 2 months we went back to see the orthopedic guy again and he said, "Well if you take everything off the problem will probably correct itself anyways. A lot of children are bow legged when they are young." $400 poorer we took everything off her and by the time she was 3 her legs were straight.

So my advice would be to listen to your doctor.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi D., I have experienced the same thing with my son. We were overly concerned b/c I was pigoned-toed when born and wore casts for a month of so, but moreso b/c my brother was born w/ club feet (they were backwards and had to be surgically turned followed by years of casts and braces). I decieded to take my son to a children podiotrist (sp? aka foot doctor). We took him when he was about 14-15 months and again when he was about 27 months. The first time they wanted him to continue to grow and see how they did. They second time they did x-rays and ultimately determined that the bones in his legs were slightly twisted. There recommendation was to let it go as he didn't have any problems walking or running. They just said he would be more likely to fall more that most kids his age, but he'd eventally learn to adjust for the turn it and probably "run faster" than most kids. Basically, trying to "do something" to correct this would cause him more harm than good.

He'll be 3 next month and we have already noticed that his feet don't seem to turn-in as bad as they did a year ago. Also, he doesn't seem to get tripped-up as often.

I agree that your son will probably outgrow or adapt to it. But if it really concerns you, take him to a specialist to make sure. I just felt like if there was an issue, the time to fix it would be while he's young and growning so fast, not when it begins to interfer with his day to day activities. In any case, good luck!!

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Hi, my oldest daughter, now 17, had close to the same problem, she had it more on her left foot, and little on her right. My pediatrician sent us to a podiatrist who perscribed corrective shoes, with wedges to correct the problem. They were the old fashioned hard soled black and white shoes, and they were expensive!! I was told to go back and buy a second pair when she grew out of those, but I never went back. Our insurance didn't cover the shoes, and I just couldnt afford another pair.
Now, her feet are straight. Her feet have been straight for a long while, she grew out of it quite well. She did and still does have problems walking without tripping, but she's just a clumsy girl who trips herself going UPstairs!!lol
I suggest trying to keep shoes on as much as possible, or ask your dr about a podiatrist, they may have something cheaper or easier to get, like maybe wedges you can put inside normal shoes, or maybe something for arch support???

I would definitely have your son checked with an orthopedic doctor. If there is a Shriner's hospital near you, then I would have them check it out.
This could cause him hip or knee or back problems later in life, it can be painful. It's better to have it checked and corrected if needed now than to wait till he's older.

Here is the Shriner's website:

You can check to see if you are close to one. I know there is one in Erie, PA there is also one in Philadelphia, PA. Shriner's also doesn't charge anything for any of their services.

Good luck, I hope you get his legs fixed without any trouble.

Just yesterday the doctor told my daughter that her 18 month old daughter was bow-legged. He said at this point do nothing. She was perfectly healthy and clumsiness was expected in toddlers as they are just learning to do things. It should correct itself. It shouldn't get worse and if it did... worry about it then. I found your question and read some of the answers and I found all of them very reassuring.

My best friend since the 5th grade walked "pigeon-toed" (that's when I learned the expression) and still does now. She always wore just regular nice shoes, and is just fine. By the way, we're both 62!

One of my foster boys was pigeon toed and the social services doctor said it wasnt a problem and nothing was done. 7 years later I adopted this boy and by then he was an excellent athlete and I had forgotten about his feet. In high school he excelled in long distance track, soccer and gymnastics. He is now a dad to 2 adorable kids that walk exactly like him. I know there are lifts or shoes that claim to correct the condition, but I'm not sure if I would do anything.

I would get him to an orthopedist soon. A little boy I
used to babysit for was pigeon toed. Pediatrician said
to Mom don't worry. Well at 2 years old he was put in
shoes with the bar. I don't think I have to tell you
what life was like for everyone in that house. Good
luck and if you feel there is a problem, there usually

I know this may be old advice but when my sister had this like 40 yrs ago, they had her wear her shoes on opposite feet for awhile.

My son is 21 months, sometimes he walks pigeon-toed as well. The MD said it has to do with the rotation of his hips and said it isn't a big deal. You could encourage your child to not sleep on his tummy with his legs curled up, and also have him sit with his legs out in front of him.

My daughter was severely pigion toed and triped all the time. She turned in so much she reminded me of the old wind up toys that the feet stepped over each other. She is now 2 1/2yo and walks, runs, full speed ahead. She is still a bit pigion toed and the dr still says to wait it out. It still concerns me a little but she has straightened out so much I never thought possible! A.

My 4 year old son has the same issue. Doctors told us that it is self-correcting, and we are already seeing some improvement. If the rotation is from the ankles, it will correct by around age 3, if from the knees, it will correct around age 5-6, and if from the hips, it should correct by age 8. Orthotics/braces are not necessary, according to both our ped and orthopedist, and only older, 'old school' orthos still brace kids. Hope this helps!

HI D., Ask your ped. to recommend an orthopedist. They need to check if this comes from the hips or if it can be corrected with a special shoe. My daughter had to wear a bat between her feet at 7 months old. It was good because she did not walk yet and the correction was made in a short time. My best, Grandma Mary

this may sound nuts...but my best friend's daughter had this issue and her ped had her wear her shoes on the wrong feet(for a year or so), my friend thought it was annoying at how many "helpful" people would tell her everyday that her shoes were on the wrong feet, but besides that it was painless and the problem has be corrected...but talk with your doctor...and get a second opinion as well, before you decide what to do or not to do.... goodluck!

We had a similiar problem with out little girl. We ended up taking her to an orthopedic doctor who informed us that her hips were rotatated inward. Doctor told us that it was a condition that is not treated (no braces, no special shoes, no therapy) and that in most cases it corrects itself over time.
Not sure if it is the same, but a specialist can confirm exactly what is going on if you are really concerned.

My 4 1/2 yr old is pigeon-toed too, and our pediatrician said to just wait because he will most likely grow out of it. And I can see that over the past two years or so it has gotten much better. I had an old football coach tell me a lot of the great running backs were pigeon-toed, though I personally hopes that translates to the baseball field! :)

My daughter's hip was turned in quite a bit making her pigeon toed. She'd trip over her foot quite a bit. She's 17 now and has perfectly (enviable!) straight legs. It just got less and less over the years.

Two of my boys were the same way, my first (Jeffrey) still is as, I followed my pediatrician's advice just like you are. With my second son (Justin) I took him to an orthopedist before he was 2 months old and he was treated immediately, yes with a brace on his shoes called a counter rotation brace. By the time I took Jeffrey to an orthopedist he was too old to treat it non-surgically so we did nothing. He used to get his feet stuck in the chain on his bike and would trip over his own feet all the time, but now at 21 years old and graduating from college in May he is able to compensate so that he doesn't fall. Justin on the other hand is now 13 years old, he doesn't have any problems with his feet turning in and loves sports. The only thing is he broke his femur when he was 3 1/2 years old and walks with a slight limp, but that doesn't stop him one bit.

My advice to you is don't listen to your pediatrician like I did the first time around, get him seen by a pediatric orthopedist and go from there, trust me when I say it it well worth your time and money; I am so glad I had Justin treated.


There is nothing you can do to correct it, since it most likely originates in the hips. It is perfectly normal. In all likelyhood he will grow out of it and the angle of his hipbones changes, though my eldest daughter has not yet at age 12. We are still hopeful, since otherwise hip surgery is indicated, which we want to avoid at all costs.

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