Toe Walking in Children
Most children begin walking around 12-15 months of age. They often experiment with different foot positions and walking up on their toes may be one of those patterns. This should not become a primary pattern in walking. By around 24 months they should walk with their feet flat on the ground. By 3 years of age they should walk with a heel-toe pattern.
WHAT IS TOE WALKING?
- Child walks on balls of feet
- Failure for the heel to make contact with the floor when taking a step resulting in primary toe contact
- Idiopathic toe walking is the above toe walking pattern with no underlying medical cause
- Is always symmetrical
- Impairs walking and balance
- Foot and ankle muscles do not develop appropriate strength
- Can result in tight muscles at ankle and ankle/foot pain
- Can have sensory issue with soles of feet
- Can result in bony changes as foot grows
- Can increase falls
- Can cause weakness in hip and trunk muscles
- Impairs safe stair-climbing
- Can cause increased ankle sprains when learning to run
What should I do if my child walks on their tip toes?
Have your child seen by their primary care doctor.
The doctor may refer your child to physical therapy to aid in improving ankle/foot mobility, lower extremity strength, and improve balance and overall motor skills. In some cases, doctor may also refer to an orthopaedic surgeon for consultation.