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Conditions

Tip-toe Walking

tip-toe walking

Lots of toddlers walk only on their tip-toes for a while and, like thumb-sucking or comfort blankets, most will simply grow out of it. There are, however, certain factors to look out for as the condition may indicate another, more serious problem which could need specialist attention.

Tip-toe walking means your child is only using the balls of the feet, and that the heel is not really coming into contact with the ground. For most kids this lasts 2-3 months while they learn to walk (at between 10 and 18 months) and once they’ve got the hang of taking proper steps their gait will be completely normal.

If tip-toe walking lasts longer than three months however, or if your child is still doing it after the age of three, there’s a danger that the calf muscles and general posture will be damaged. A pair of firm boots which cover the ankle will help him or her take normal steps, and so will ‘training’ sessions where you concentrate on waking together. If this doesn’t work your doctor or physiotherapist will be able to recommend special stretching exercises designed to loosen the Achilles tendon and other ankle muscles, tightness in which can cause tip-toe walking, and if there’s a more serious physical problem your doctor may suggest the temporary use of a brace.

In rare cases however, tip-toe walking can be one of the symptoms (alongside a more general difficulty in performing fiddly tasks) of mild cerebral palsy or a developmental disorder such as autism, so it’s important to keep an eye on the condition and let your doctor know about any associated changes. In most cases however, particularly with a bit of gentle parental help, tip-toe walking is a phase that will pass and will leave no lasting damage.

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I have a daughter now 13 tip toe walker since 12 months old. We saw a physio who said hyper mobility this will correct itself. I refused to believe this after far too many visits to A & E for stitches/glue cuts to her her due to falling/tripping. We tried the h osp issued boots/insoles/many many physio appointments/ different consultants. She has had nerve test/mri/doppler tests each consultant comming up with different reasons. It's affectibg her life she can't walk long distances/ emotionally drained/can't commit to days out as each day varies what her pain will be like. We are back from another physio (new lady) back out of retirement who has suggested light weight casts to n gradually stretch the tendon. I have kept every letter and asked for copies of each dr's report. Big old pile of letters now! I can only keep everything crossed that this works as I want my daughter smike back.





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Hi Shell, Our daughter at her last hosp appointment had a complete meltdown and is now under children's mental health. It's so hard as a parent as we know exactly what their going through and their daily struggles. It's hard enough dealing with it but 100 x harder when no confirmed diagnosis is available.

My son has just turned 6. He has always walked on his toes. He also has speech and language therapy at school and is under a peadiatric consultant. He has had Physio for a few years now and recently had an intense course of Physio. He has no core strength because of his tip toe walking so when he walks properly he falls over quite often. His last Physio session was about 2wks ago but we've hit a brick wall because although the exercises worked a little he still has tight muscles etc. I've asked about having his legs in casts to see if this will help. The Physio woman is fantastic, she's going to write to the consultant and see what he wants to do. I've tried all kinds of boots on him but he always finds a way to get on his toes. I will keep you updated on his progress.





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I was really lucky, it was only the one teacher who was on me about it. The splints did work for me so in high school it wasn't a big problem, when I did go to my toes it was my one close friend who would mention it. I feel for her, I do know the feeling my heart is out there for. My best suggestion is support her as best as you can, and I hope she has at least one friend she is really close to, it helps. In answer to makhosi





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My daughter who is 7 years old is tip toeing once in a while. We never went to doctor ask why she's doing it.. She is a smart kid and doing great in school. But once in a while I see her tip toeing.. But once I explain to her the impact of tiptoeing in her leg muscles.. She gradually didn't do it. I think some of the tip toeing especially for girl is due to the fact that they see their mommy that wear high heels and they imitating it. But other than that she's a healthy 7 years old girl. No. 1 in their class and I cant ask for more..





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My son is 7 yrs old and he has the issue of toe walking. Initially he had all his activities on time except walking and after a physio treatment for almost 3+ yrs he started walking, but it's toe walking. Is there any way we cure as the improvement on physio also stopped after a certain stage.





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My son, who will be 6yrs in April 2014, is having casts on both legs, up to the knee. I am told that this will be for a minimum of 4 weeks with the cast being removed and replaced on a fortnightly basis. He has always been on his tip toes and we have always been told that it is something that he will grow out of. When we went to his first parents evening in reception class (only just 5yrs old) we were told that his attention and understanding of instruction was not at the level it should be for a child of his age. We were shocked by this as our son was an early talker and before Playgroup his speech, language and understanding of using words in context was ahead of his years. His tip toe-ing was also discussed and after a number of meetings with the head of year as parents we decided to go with the advice. Our son was then referred to Speech and Language assessment and physio. He was offered 45 minutes of physio over a 6 week period. The speech and language assessment was a breeze for him and the lady doing the assessment was clearly of the opinion that it was a waste of time. The suggestion that the two issues could be related was never brought to our attention and after some of our own research the connection has only now become apparent to us. Our main issue at this time is to get him through 4-8 weeks of being in plaster. Our son is now in Yr 1 and is thriving from the more structured format to the day and his attitude and confidance is obvious both outside school and in the classroom. Will update when cast are on. Jx





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It was interesting reading your story. My son is 3 and has tip toe walked since he started walking around 13 months. Im now beginning to get really worried that he had not grown out of it. He has been seen by orthopaedic surgeons who said there is nothing structurally wrong with his legs but habit. They want to see us in dec 2014 to see if hes grown out of it by then

My daughter is coming up to 2. She has never put her heels down flat. After various appointments she has been referred for casts. This is a waiting game. In the mean time been told solid boots should help, so far it hasnt. I have tried stretching her gently but she seems in pain. Im concerned as her balance is not as good as a normal toddler so continuously falls :(





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This sound very much like 2 year old daughter who is also a very high tiptoe walker we have been to lots of different hospital appointments from physio to consultants not 1 of them had a clue what to do as physio didnt work or the the special boots that she had fitted now they going to try the plaster cast for 8 weeks on tuesday so heres hoping this works if not the next step is to operate .

As a child I had habitual toe walking, eventually I just used to naturally switch between toe and heel-toe walking because not much of an effort was made to correct me. I think I only heel-toe walked as I got older as I was conforming to avoid bullying. Now as a young adult I have a small lordosis because my centre of gravity shifted forward, and my feet pronate. I dance ballet and have been making a conscious effort to fix these faults in my alignment and have made a lot of progress but I wish that more of an effort was made when I was a kid to correct my posture. I was told to walk completely on my heels to counteract it and I did so when I was made to, but it looked and felt stupid. I'd pretty much think "adults are idiots" and go back to walking on my toes. Doctors sometimes recommend ballet classes for this sort of problem, but normal recreational kiddy classes don't focus on fixing posture or bad habits, you'd have to send your child to real pre-professional classes. It doesn't seem like a huge problem, but it's causing me trouble now. I want to dance professionally and it's the main thing holding me back from progressing faster. If your kid does this please explain to them WHY they shouldn't, don't just tell them not to do it! Do an exaggerated impression of me walking with a swayback and feet rolling in and say "Do you want to walk like this when you're older?" :(





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My fifteen year old daughter has tippy-toed from an early age. As parents we had her looked at , and it was determined she was not that bad too have operations. Now I am concerned that she has hip problems as I cannot fit her into trousers, shorts etc properly. We also have concerns about her small motor skills which are lacking. What can this mean?

toe walking is how the human body was designed to move. if you look at it from an engineering perpective, there is no shock absorption from your heel hitting the ground first except for your joints...which were not designed for that. knee, hip, lower back all receive g-shock with each foot step. toe walking allows the shock to be absorbed by the calf muscle, transmitting a negligible amount to the rest of the body. zero compared to heal walking. it requires more energy than heel walking, is difficult or impossible to maintain in most shoe types, and as most organisms prefer to use as little energy as possible, tends to fall by the wayside later in life in preference for heel walking as well as conformity. if you're a toe walker, as the saying goes-yer doin' it right.





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I am 42 and have toe walked in some form all my life. It is due to an issue with my achilles tendon and if I had been born later surgery would have been recommended. Instead as a toddler doctors put me in corrective shoes, this limited my toe walking especially as a I got older to when I walk bare foot There have been no major issues from my toe walking. I compete in races up to half marathons, graduated college with high honors and have an active successful life overall. While toe walking may be a sympton for something else in most cases it is simply a tendon issue which won't cause any issue later on.





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