Reasons And Treatment For Toe Walking In Children

Reasons and treatment for toe walking in children can vary from child to child. There may be a need for an evaluation by your Physical Therapist or Physician in some instances. These instances include your child continuing to walk predominantly on their toes after several months of independent walking or your child not coming to a flat foot position when standing.

Children have various strategies when learning to walk and perfecting their balance. Typically, developing children practice placing weight on all surfaces of their feet. Using their calf and feet muscles to push up on their toes to reach objects that are farther away, children test their new found skill of standing and walking. In fact, being able to push up their toes is important and is required for a normal gait pattern.

When observing your child, it is important to note that he or she is able to come to a flat foot position when standing. After a child has been walking for several months independently, she or he begins to adopt a walking pattern. This pattern includes landing on the rear of the foot (heel strike) and then rolling the foot forward. Followed by coming up on the toes to push off and propel the foot forward.


Reasons for toe walking in children

Reasons for toe walking include tightness noted in the muscles of the calf and/or foot, clubfoot, sensory processing disorders, autism, or neurological tone due to cerebral palsy. Related neuromuscular disorders and weakness in the abdominal muscles can also be a reason for toe walking. There has been research suggesting that toe walking in children may be hereditary.


 Treatment for toe walking in children

Treatment for toe walking is usually very effective. Mild to moderate heel cord (Achilles) tightness can be addressed by stretches taught by a Physical Therapist. Strengthening core muscle groups is an effective means for addressing abdominal weakness, which improves the gait cycle and control in the distal muscle groups. Small weights, such as MightyTykes Infant and Toddler Weights, have been effective in addressing sensory processing disorders and mild tightness in heel cords.

In more severe cases and if the underlying cause is due to neuromuscular issues, a neurologist may suggest Botox injections or a tendon release. In other toe walking cases, a brace or casting may be suggested.

Most toe walkers are considered idiopathic, which means that there is no known cause or diagnosis associated with the condition. The severity is usually measured by how far the heel is from the ground when walking. If a parent has any concern, an early intervention or pediatric Physical Therapist can assess the child’s gait pattern and recommend an effective treatment plan.

For more information about toe walking and child development, contact Mighty Tykes today! Give us a call at (877) 456-2822 or Contact Us via email. View our products if you are interested in trying infant and toddler weights for your child. We look forward to helping your child in his or her physical development!

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Mary Jane Baniak, Ph.D.

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