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Tibial Torsion

(Twisting of the Tibia; Torsion of the Tibia)

By Simeon A. Boyadjiev Boyd, MD, Professor of Pediatrics and Genetics, Section of Genetics, Department of Genetics, University of California, Davis

The shinbone may be twisted at birth.

The shinbone (tibia) is one of the bones in the lower leg. Twisting (called torsion) of the tibia toward the outside (external torsion) occurs normally as the child grows and is rarely a problem. Twisting toward the inside (internal torsion) is common at birth and typically resolves as the child grows. However, a great degree of torsion may indicate a neuromuscular problem or Blount disease. Persistent, excessive internal torsion can lead to toe-ing in (pigeon toes) and bowlegs.

Doctors can detect this defect by doing a physical examination and taking various measurements of the legs.

In most children, the shinbone returns to a normal position without treatment around 5 to 6 years of age. Children who have a severe case of tibial torsion may need to wear special shoes, a cast, or leg braces.