Also know as or related to Tip Toe Walking, Kids walking on their toes, Habitual Toe Walking, Idiopathic Toe Walking, Heels off the Ground
Toe walking is reasonably common especially when children start to walk for the first time. Most children do 'outgrow' toe walking, however there are some serious causes of toe walking that need to be investigated.
Prolonged toe walking can create some issues in the future such as instability, social stigma and the extra load on the forefoot can increase the risk of certain injuries and problems. Therefore, it is critical to determine the cause of the toe walking and investigate treatments that might be implemented
There are three main causes of toe walking:
- Short Achilles tendons
Some people inherit shorter achilles tendons that result in the calf muscles and the short achilles tendon not allowing the heels to reach the ground.
- Neural Conditions
Conditions such as Cerebral Palsy, Autism and Muscular Dystrophy can affect the nerves that control the calf muscles causing them to spasm and contract. This pulls the back of the heel up and results in toe walking.
- Habitual Toe Walking
This is by far the most common cause of toe walking and involves small children walking on their toes out of pure habit. For some reason, the child may find this more comfortable when they begin walking and the habit remains. It is common for this to present in the first month or two of walking and children tend to come back down onto their heels when they discover this is more efficient.
Some children persist with the toe walking and need to be investigated for causes and solutions.
Treatments for toe walking are specific to what might be causing the toe walking. Some treatments used involve heel lifts, stable footwear, stiff inserts, exercises to retrain the brain and other strength or stretching exercises.