I had a young man come in the other day, and his primary issue was that he had a significant internal rotation of his feet. He was pigeon-toed.
The father told me how the other doctors had been looking at his feet and ankles and could not explain to anyone why the son had this issue, so they told him there was nothing ANYONE could do.
First, I like how three doctors at a hospital can't figure something out, so they think no one could—a great way to instill hope.
Second, they were looking at the feet and ankles because that is where you see the issue, not where the problem comes from.
So, for this kiddo, the answer to him being pigeon-toed and his toes pointing in is the same for someone whose toes point out. It's the pelvis.
This particular person had super tight iliopsoas, hip flexors, and muscles. What was happening was that the entire leg, not just up top, was being pulled in.
This slight rotation was causing a significant disruption by the time it got down to his feet. Now one foot rolled in more than the other, which is common, but they both rolled in.
The fix for this is to increase tone, not strength, to the muscles that externally rotate and roll away from the center line of the femur. We were able to do the exercises in the office, and you could see a change immediately.
Always start with the idea that things can be fixed, NEVER EVER let that idea leave your head. Find better doctors if you have to, but do not let someone tell you to give up.
If you're wondering what the exercise was, I wrapped a band around his foot and had him push his toes out in the direction we wanted them to go about 60 times under low resistance.
I also had him doing glute med kickbacks focusing on the far end of the ROM. Activating muscles under slight resistance multiple times is how we change the tone, so he has to do that. But now that he knows the problem is in his hip, he can focus on feeling those muscles contract.
There is nothing wrong with asking questions and seeking other opinions. Never give up hope, as there are always solutions.
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Dr. Matt Chalmers
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only. Before taking any action based on this information you should first consult with your physician or health care provider. This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions regarding a medical condition, your health, or wellness.