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.

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.