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When to see a Physiotherapist for Toe-Walking

Welcome to our paediatric physiotherapy blog, where we aim to provide you with valuable insights and guidance on various childhood conditions.

Understanding Toe Walking

Tip-toeing is an important gross motor skill as it helps develop muscles supporting the long arches in your feet. This helps keep your heel mobile, so you can walk over uneven ground and learn how to walk softly. Children usually stop walking on their toes as they slow down and start to strike with their heel past toddler age. It is important that children of any age don’t walk on their toes all the time, as it tightens their calves reduces their foot and ankle range, making it harder for their heel bone to properly develop. Tip-toe walking also reduces a child’s base of support when
moving, which can increase their risk of becoming unstable or falling.

Reasons why children continue toe walking past toddler age include:

  • Family history (genetic predisposition)
  • Sensory issues (especially increased sensitivity to surface textures like grass, cold tiles, dust, sand, or some shoes)
  • Shortened calf muscles (if your child only toe walks on one side, it could also indicate a leg length difference)

In some cases, persistent toe walking can indicate the presence of an underlying neurodevelopmental or neurological condition.

Seek Professional Help if Your Child:

  • Cannot walk on flat feet or squat 
  • Cannot walk on their heels by  years old
  • Complains of pain or discomfort in their feet or legs
  • Has difficulty participating in physical activities or keeping up with their peers
  • Frequently trips or stumbles when walking or running
 

How Physiotherapists can Help With Toe Walking 

  • Strengthening and stretching exercises
  • Supporting good postural habits
  • Recommending supportive footwear

Conclusion:

We hope this article has provided you with valuable insights into toe walking. If you have any concerns or need further assistance, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our friendly team at Movement Solutions. We’re here to help you and your little one thrive!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment.

Kaitlin Pullen-Cameron, Physiotherapist


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