Tiptoe Walking Children – What is it? Its causes, and treatment
Walking on the toes or the balls of the feet, also known as toe walking, is fairly common in children who are just beginning to walk. Most children outgrow it. However, tiptoe walking sometimes indicates an underlying medical condition.
Toe walking is when a child walks on the toes or ball of the foot without the heel or other parts of the foot coming in contact with the floor. Toe walking is common in children, and usually occurs until the ages of 2 or 3 years old. But if toe walking continues past 3 years of age, it’s often no more than a harmless habit the child has taken to—idiopathic in medical terms. Children who persistently toe walk may develop tightness in their ankles and benefit from treatments that stretch the calf muscle.
What Causes Tiptoe Walking?
Toe walking can by symptomatic of an underlying physical issue, neurological impairment, or sensory processing disorder. Some of these include the following:
- Short Achilles tendon
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Other nerve or muscle disorders
Treating Tiptoe Walking
Children who simply toe walk out of habit do not require treatment. They usually outgrow the habit eventually. However, if your pediatric podiatrist determines a physical issue is causing the toe walking, treatment may include:
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen and stretch muscles in the legs and feet
- Leg braces or a splint to correct gait
- Custom orthotics
- Serial below-the-knee casting to properly align the toes to the shin
Early intervention is important to prevent habitual toe walking in order to minimise the development of a stiff ankle and an enlarged forefoot.
Does your child has these symptoms? Have him/her check with one of our podiatrist. ✅
We hope you have a specTOEcular day! 👣☀️
-The Chelsea Clinic and Team