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3 yo walking on his toes


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#1 SusieBlue

Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:18 AM

DS often walks on his toes, however I've never paid much attention to it - I just thought it was when he was excited etc. However I get a lot of comments about it - particularly from SIL, who rarely sees him (she lives overseas) so I know he has been doing it for a long time.

We were on holidays with DH's aunt recently, who is a physio. She noticed and told me that his calves were tight, and gave me a couple of exercises to try with him.

Now I am paying a lot more attention to it. He actually does it ALL THE TIME, except when I encourage him to do it differently. I'm a bit worried! Do I think I should start taking him to a physio etc. to try to resolve the problem? Has anyone else had a child who did this, and how did you go about trying to fix it?



#2 vswannie

Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:27 AM

My boss' daughter has this problem. It started at two or three, and her paediatrician advised her to get a physio for the little girl and have regular therapy to get her walking on her feet. Unfortunately my boss ignored this advice and now, at five, the little girl has such problems with her calf muscles that they may need to have an operation to release some of the ligaments in the calves. So yes...If it's something your bub does regularly instead of just now and then, it might be worth getting some help now to avoid problems later.

#3 KylieY

Posted 18 January 2013 - 08:31 AM

Hi OP

My friend's DD had this exact problem. She is 5 and recently went to the GP who referred her to a physio. She too was walking ALL THE TIME on her tip toes and had to wear special braces on both feet for 2 weeks to try and break the habit. In her case, that 's all it was and they needed to break the habit before she started school.

It worked. She still does it occasionally, but nowhere near as much as she was.

I would take her to the GP and go from there.

Edited by KylieY, 18 January 2013 - 08:32 AM.


#4 unicorn

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:48 AM

DD7 is a toe walker, try and get it dealt with while he is still young, the doctors told me it wasn't anything to worry about when DD was younger and we are having problems now, so don't let them tell you not to worry about it. We have had a couple of outs of serial casting which works for short periods of time.

#5 gemini2

Posted 18 January 2013 - 09:53 AM

I'm another mum who's contemplating whether to see our GP about my daughter 2.5 y/o walking on tip toes.  She does this regularly and it can cause her to trip over easily so of course every time I see her do this I remind her the correct way to walk.  My DD loves Angelina Ballerina since she's very young so I can see where her habit originated original.gif

ETA spelling corrections

Edited by gemini2, 18 January 2013 - 09:55 AM.


#6 MissingInAction

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:11 AM

Definitely get it checked out.  
Does your child have other behaviour or health issues?  If not, I wouldn't worry but sometimes it can be a red flag to other issues, not just physical things.

#7 Mung bean

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:16 AM

QUOTE (MiaMoo86 @ 18/01/2013, 11:11 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Definitely get it checked out.  
Does your child have other behaviour or health issues?  If not, I wouldn't worry but sometimes it can be a red flag to other issues, not just physical things.


Agree. It's can be associated with aspergers or autism. I am not saying that is the case, but it can be a sign for some.

Good luck

#8 Froger

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:40 AM

Does your child not wear shoes very much? I notice with little kids who don't wear shoes much they tend to walk this way. But kids with shoes they seem to start walking with the heel first (just from my own observations).

I know that a lot of people see it as a problem, but I do tend to wonder if this is because we are a shoe wearing society, so we have made it a problem? I'm not expert at all, so this is just my layperson musings on the subject. But I actually try to encourage my kids to land toe first when not wearing shoes, rather than heel first like happens when wearing shoes.

As an adult who later in life went to wearing no shoes (or as little as possible) I had to retrain myself to land toes first and stop heel walking. I also leave my kids out of shoes as long as possible (until they go to school), to try to encourage toe first walking, as I see toe first walking as preferrable when wearing no shoes (but as I say I'm not an expert, although I'm not the only one to think this way). But certainly I have found it is very painful to run heel first in bare feet, but very comfortable to run landing toe first in bare feet (in my own experience).

I have tried to retrain myself to toe first walking, and  I do encourage it in my kids unless they are wearing shoes (when it very hard if not pretty much impossible to walk toe first anyway) as there seems to be some evidence it is a better way to walk in bare feet than heel first (not as much force going up the leg).

Edited by SarahM72, 18 January 2013 - 10:52 AM.


#9 melaine

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:49 AM

QUOTE (Mung bean @ 18/01/2013, 11:16 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Agree. It's can be associated with aspergers or autism. I am not saying that is the case, but it can be a sign for some.

Good luck


It can be, but it's also quite common to occur by itself.

They've done quite a bit of research into toe walking so I'm not sure of the latest evidence base but I'd suggest seeing a good paediatric physio (not a general physio who also treats children with sports injuries) and getting your child assessed. Options include exercises, stretches, shoes inserts/special shoes etc but the earlier you address it the better because it will prevent long term adaptations (shortening of calf muscles etc) and obviously habits are easier to break earlier on.

#10 melaine

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:53 AM

QUOTE (SarahM72 @ 18/01/2013, 11:40 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Does your child not wear shoes very much? I notice with little kids who don't wear shoes much they tend to walk this way. But kids with shoes they seem to start walking with the heel first (just from my own observations).

I know that a lot of people see it as a problem, but I do tend to wonder if this is because we are a shoe wearing society, so we have made it a problem? I'm not expert at all, so this is just my musings on the subject. I actually try to encourage my kids to land toe first when not wearing shoes, rather than heel first like happens when wearing shoes.

As an adult who later in life went to wearing no shoes (or as little as possible) I had to retrain myself to land toes first and stop heel walking. I also leave my kids out of shoes as long as possible (until they go to school), to try to encourage toe first walking, as I see toe first walking as preferrable when wearing no shoes (but as I say I'm not an expert, although I'm not the only one to think this way). But certainly I have found it is very painful to run heel first in bare feet, but very comfortable to run landing toe first in bare feet (in my own experience. I have tried to retrain myself to toe first walking, and  I do encourage it in my kids unless they are wearing shoes (when it very hard if not pretty much impossible to walk toe first anyway) as there seems to be some evidence it is a better way to walk in bare feet than heel first (not as much force going up the leg).


There is a difference between landing toe first and still putting your heel down and being able to keep your heel down while stepping through, and kids who land on toes and bounce their heels to touch (or not even touch). The first you can do with normal calf length and normal gait pattern and timing, the second can be associated with alterations to all of those.


#11 ScarfaceClaw

Posted 18 January 2013 - 10:59 AM

I was a toe walker and ended up with short achilles.
I had a bilateral tendon lengthening around 7 years of age. To this date I can't do a lot of things that involve stretching the achilles, but I have amazing legs...

So I live around it, I don't ski, I snowboard, I modify my squats at the gym, etc etc...

It was a pretty uncomfortable procedure, and I remember all the physio after was a pain too.





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