What is tiptoe walking?

Normally, when a child walks, his heel should be the first thing to hit the ground. However, some kids like to walk on the tip of their toes instead. This is a problem that is easily missed by parents for many reasons.

Firstly, children that tiptoe generally do not have problems playing sports. Secondly, the child will generally stand on his heels on the ground, it is only when he starts walking that his heel never touches the ground.

Tiptoe walking is not a normal way to walk. It causes foot, ankle, knee and hips instability. Tiptoe walking makes your child more prone to falls, sprains, and development of postural problems. As a child grows, tiptoeing can get worse and cause pain in the foot, ankle, knee or lower back.

What causes tiptoe walking?

Many things can cause tiptoeing, but it is generally associated with tight calf muscles on the back of your child’s legs. These tight calf muscles will decrease the movement of the ankle and create pain and instability in the knees and hips.

Calf muscles become tighter as a child continues to tiptoe. This is why tiptoe walking can become worse with time. As tiptoeing becomes worse, it also becomes more difficult to treat. Therefore, it is essential to identify the problem early in order to treat it appropriately and to prevent injuries.

How to treat tiptoe walking?

Your podiatrist can treat tiptoe walking by applying the proper treatment for your child’s condition:

1. Supporting the heel

Your podiatrist can prescribe proper shoes and insoles like custom-made plantar orthotic in order to support the heel and ankle. This not only treats the tiptoe walking problem, but also improves the overall leg stability. By having more stability, we are preventing future ankle, knee and hip problems that can develop because of tiptoe walking.

2. Stretching the ankle

Tight ankles are highly associated with tiptoe walking. A child’s heel has trouble touching the ground if his calf muscles are too tight. Your podiatrist can prescribe at-home exercises adapted to your child’s age in order to regain some ankle movement.

How to treat tiptoe walking at home?

A child can tiptoe because of a habit. This is why it is very important to identify the problem early and help them outgrow this bad habit. Here are some things to try at home while waiting for your podiatric consultation.

Wear proper shoes

Wearing a rigid shoe with proper arch and ankle support is very important. Another thing to look for in shoes is the heel height. Indeed, it is better to wear shoes with a higher heel in order for your child’s heel to always feet supported.

Encourage your child to heel walk

A portion of tiptoeing comes from a bad habit and can become worse with time because calf muscles become tighter. This is why it is beneficial to encourage your child to walk with his heel first as much as possible.

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