Femoral Anteversion in Children

What is femoral anteversion in children?

Femoral anteversion is an inward twisting of the thighbone (femur). The femur is the bone that is located between the hip and the knee. This health problem causes a child’s knees and feet to turn inward. The child may have a pigeon-toed appearance.

What causes femoral anteversion in a child?

Femoral anteversion can be the result of stiff hip muscles because of the position of the baby in the uterus. It also tends to run in families.

What are the symptoms of femoral anteversion in a child?

The symptoms of femoral anteversion may include:

  • Toes, knees, or both facing inward
  • Bowed legs

The bowed leg stance actually helps the child balance as they stand. Balance is not as steady when the child tries to stand and walk with the feet close together or with the feet turned in. They may trip and fall.

The symptoms of femoral anteversion may seem like other health problems. Make sure your child sees their healthcare provider for a diagnosis.

How is femoral anteversion diagnosed in a child?

Femoral anteversion is often found when a child is between ages 4 and 6. You may also first notice it when your child is learning to walk. But it may be present in children of different ages for different reasons.

Your child’s healthcare provider can diagnose femoral anteversion with a physical exam. During the exam, they will ask about your child’s birth history and if other family members are known to have the condition. Your child usually will not need X-rays.

How is femoral anteversion treated in a child?

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

The twisting in of the thighbone usually gets better with time. Many cases correct themselves as the child grows. Your child will likely walk normally by age 8 to 10.

Your child’s healthcare provider may prescribe braces or special shoes. But most studies have found that these treatments don't help. If the femoral anteversion is bad, your child may need surgery to straighten the thighbone.

It is important to know that femoral anteversion usually does not lead to arthritis. However, it can be associated with knee pain.

Key points about femoral anteversion in children

  • Femoral anteversion is an inward twisting of the thighbone.
  • The condition tends to run in families.
  • It may be found when a child first starts walking. It can cause inward facing toes and bowed legs.
  • Most children with femoral anteversion will improve as they grow older. In severe cases, your child may need surgery.

Next steps

Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your child’s healthcare provider:

  • Know the reason for the visit and what you want to happen.
  • Before your visit, write down questions you want answered.
  • At the visit, write down the name of a new diagnosis and any new medicines, treatments, or tests. Also write down any new instructions your provider gives you for your child.
  • Know why a new medicine or treatment is prescribed and how it will help your child. Also know what the side effects are.
  • Ask if your child’s condition can be treated in other ways.
  • Know why a test or procedure is recommended and what the results could mean.
  • Know what to expect if your child does not take the medicine or have the test or procedure.
  • If your child has a follow-up appointment, write down the date, time, and purpose for that visit.
  • Know how you can contact your child’s healthcare provider after office hours, and on weekends and holidays. This is important if your child becomes ill and you have questions or need advice.