Paediatrics / Toe Walking

Toe walking is a condition where a child doesn’t weight bear on the heel of their foot – walking on ‘tip toes’.

  • WHAT IS TOE WALKING?
    • A condition where a child doesn’t weight bear on the heel of their foot – walking on ‘tip toes’
    • Very common condition amongst children under 3 as they are learning to walk
    • Sometimes there can be an underlying reason for why your child is toe-walking, this can be investigated by a podiatrist and can help to rule out any cause for concern
  • WHAT CAUSES TOE WALKING?
    • Habitual/unknown cause
      • Child can physically touch heel to ground but chooses to walk on toes or does so out of habit
      • May be trying to make themselves taller
      • Young girls pretending to be ballerinas etc
      • Some equipment use
    • Certain medical conditions have links to toe walking
      • Cerebral palsy
      • Muscular dystrophy
      • Global developmental delay
    • Autism/Hypersensitivity
      • Greater sensitivity to touch can lead a child to toe walk due to avoiding touching the ground as much as possible
    • Sever’s disease
      • Too painful to place heel on ground therefore the child will toe-walk as a result
  • WHAT PROBLEMS MAY OCCUR IF MY CHILD CONTINUES TO TOE WALK?
    • Heel bone narrows and foot posture changes
    • Child is unstable and falls over more frequently
    • Increased frequency of injury
    • Knees instability
    • Lower back pain
    • Shortening of the calf muscles
    • Postural concerns
    • Difficulty adapting to wearing footwear
  • HOW WILL A PODIATRIST MANAGE MY CHILD’S TOE WALKNG?
    • A comprehensive assessment of the lower limb and their foot biomechanics will be performed
    • Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of your child’s toe walking
    • May include:
      • Stretching/strengthening programs
      • Orthotic therapy
      • Gait plates
      • Strapping
      • Footwear advice
      • Home exercise recommendations
      • Dry needling (depending on age)
      • Splinting/casting – podiatrist would refer to appropriate practitioner if this path was required
  • WHAT IS TOE WALKING?
    • A condition where a child doesn’t weight bear on the heel of their foot – walking on ‘tip toes’
    • Very common condition amongst children under 3 as they are learning to walk
    • Sometimes there can be an underlying reason for why your child is toe-walking, this can be investigated by a podiatrist and can help to rule out any cause for concern
  • WHAT CAUSES TOE WALKING?
    • Habitual/unknown cause
      • Child can physically touch heel to ground but chooses to walk on toes or does so out of habit
      • May be trying to make themselves taller
      • Young girls pretending to be ballerinas etc
      • Some equipment use
    • Certain medical conditions have links to toe walking
      • Cerebral palsy
      • Muscular dystrophy
      • Global developmental delay
    • Autism/Hypersensitivity
      • Greater sensitivity to touch can lead a child to toe walk due to avoiding touching the ground as much as possible
    • Sever’s disease
      • Too painful to place heel on ground therefore the child will toe-walk as a result
  • WHAT PROBLEMS MAY OCCUR IF MY CHILD CONTINUES TO TOE WALK?
    • Heel bone narrows and foot posture changes
    • Child is unstable and falls over more frequently
    • Increased frequency of injury
    • Knees instability
    • Lower back pain
    • Shortening of the calf muscles
    • Postural concerns
    • Difficulty adapting to wearing footwear
  • HOW WILL A PODIATRIST MANAGE MY CHILD’S TOE WALKNG?
    • A comprehensive assessment of the lower limb and their foot biomechanics will be performed
    • Treatment will depend on the cause and severity of your child’s toe walking
    • May include:
      • Stretching/strengthening programs
      • Orthotic therapy
      • Gait plates
      • Strapping
      • Footwear advice
      • Home exercise recommendations
      • Dry needling (depending on age)
      • Splinting/casting – podiatrist would refer to appropriate practitioner if this path was required

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