Toe-Walking

Toe-walking in children refers to a walking pattern where a child constantly walks on their toes or the balls of their feet without proper contact with the heel. While occasional toe-walking is common in toddlers who are learning to walk, persistent toe-walking beyond the age of three or four may warrant attention and evaluation by a podiatrist.

Is Toe-walking a normal part of development? 

Yes Toe-walking is a common part of early childhood development, especially during the initial stages of walking. Many children naturally outgrow this pattern as they develop a more typical heel-to-toe gait.

What are the causes of Persistent Toe-walking in children?  

If toe-walking persists beyond the typical age range, it may be associated with various factors, including:

  • Tight Achilles Tendon: A shortened Achilles tendon can limit the range of motion in the ankle, leading to toe-walking.
  • Sensory Processing Issues: Some children may toe-walk due to sensory processing difficulties or sensory-seeking behaviour.
  • Underlying Neurological Conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as ASD and muscular dystrophy, may contribute to persistent toe-walking.

What role does a Podiatrist play in Toe-walking?

Podiatrists play a crucial role in evaluating toe-walking in children. They assess the child’s gait, foot structure, and muscle flexibility to determine the underlying causes.

What is the treatment for Toe-walking? 

The approach to treating toe-walking depends on the underlying cause. The treatments could involve?

  • Stretching Exercises: If tightness in the Achilles tendon is identified, podiatrists may recommend stretching exercises to improve flexibility.
  • Orthotics: Orthotic inserts may be prescribed to address foot and ankle alignment issues and provide proper support.
  • Physical Therapy: In some cases, physical therapy may be recommended to address muscle imbalances and coordination issues.
  • Monitoring and Intervention: If toe-walking is associated with an underlying neurological condition, podiatrists work in collaboration with other healthcare professionals to ensure comprehensive care.
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It’s important for parents to seek professional advice if their child persistently toe-walks, especially if it is accompanied by other developmental concerns. Early intervention can help address underlying issues and support the child in developing a more typical walking pattern. Podiatrists, in collaboration with other healthcare professionals, play a vital role in the multidisciplinary approach to managing toe-walking in children. If your child is toe-walking, bring them in for an assessment at My Podiatrist Canberra.

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