12 Answers

I didnt really have him in a walker all that much when he was a baby. He started walking at about 18mths.

Though now he is 2.5 years old he is still walking on his tippy-toes. Should I be concerned? how can I encourage him to walk on his whole foot?

Posted by susie, 12th March 2015

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  • It can be innocent or more serious, keep an eye on it.

    There are a number of reasons a child may continue walking on their toes, but often no underlying cause can be found. A study published in the Pediatrics found that five to 12 percent of healthy kids toe-walk for no apparent reason. Sometimes it becomes an unconscious habit and is even encouraged by parents who think it’s cute (oops!). The cause could be as benign as going through a growth spurt.

    As kids grow, the bones in the legs get longer first and the muscles stretch and catch up later. It’s like pulling an elastic band. Your calf muscle attaches to the back of your knee and the back of your heel, and if you extend those two points, the band gets tighter. Kids are often more comfortable if they lift up their heel, because it reduces the strain.

    But in other cases, toe-walking is associated with sensory problems, like vision impairment and sensory processing disorder, and developmental delays. Often, kids with sensory issues can’t tolerate certain textures underfoot. Some children who were born prematurely do it because they had their heels repeatedly pricked for blood tests and have tissue damage that makes their heels hypersensitive. Toe-walking can even be an early sign of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and autism, so it’s important to get it checked out. A study published in the journal Brain & Development found that 19 percent of children with autism toe-walk, which may be because they’re prone to repetitive behaviours or have sensory issues.
    A Swedish study published in Pediatrics found that by the age of five and a half, more than 50 percent of toe-walkers stop on their own. But the best time to intervene is before age three, so movement patterns don’t become too ingrained or the structure of the foot doesn’t change. “When you’re born, your bones are very soft, and they get firm as you get older. The bones in the foot are firm by about six years of age,” she says. “If you think your kid will outgrow it and they don’t, at that point it could be too late.”

    You can help your toddler try on new shoes.Choosing the right toddler shoes is important.
    There are a number of treatments available for toe-walking, but finding the right one depends on the underlying cause. For children who don’t like the feeling of their heels on the ground, exposing their feet to increasingly intense textures, starting with cotton balls and working up to pebbles, for example. Activities that improve balance, control and strength—such as yoga, martial arts and skating—can help those who have become toe walkers out of habit. Children with tight calves can do stretches with the help of a therapist or a parent. If the toe-walking persists, they may be given Botox injections to temporarily paralyze the muscle, followed by serial casting, which involves placing fibreglass casts at progressive angles, to stretch it. In rare cases, the Achilles tendon is surgically lengthened.

  • mine did that. shoes helped.

  • One of our Punks still walks on her tippy toes a lot, and they’re now 5! The other one does sometimes, I’ve been told they will grow out of it and to not be too concerned about it, as long as they have comfortable shoes that fit them properly it will eventually sort itself out. The one of ours that does it is very much a dancer and she is always dancing about, which is why I think she does it?

  • kymichelle, some kids scuff there shoes because the like the sound of their shoes on the ground surface. If your son still doing it all the time by the time he is 3 y.o. He could have a problem in either his feet or legs which may need physio or other remedial treatment. If so the longer it is left the harder it will be to correct. With all due respects, many Drs. aren’t experienced in that field.

  • I don’t want to alarm you but my friend said that toe walking was the first thing that identified her daughter’s autism diagnosis – although I have also heard this is not a sign of the condition. The issue with toe walking is the muscles in the legs won’t develop as they should. I’d see a gp and they may refer to a pediatrician

  • My daughter did that at that age too, and she walk fine now. But if you are worried check with your Dr.

  • yeah i also wanted to add that i think that your son will be fine

  • my first thought was to get him ballet lessons,but thats my sense of humour,at a bad time too,my husband walker on the front os his feet,just like a tippy toe,and he had great calves!!well,i liked them.i think kids go through stages and if you make a big deal when it’s kinda harmless,it may last a lot longer than you’d like,ignore,distract,take him to the swings at the park,biut most of all,sit back and wait,there’s going to be bigger things coming your way,he sounds like a bright kid who is dicovering what he can do,and enjoy the ride,because the next challenge will make you think,what was i worried about?

  • I have a friend who’s son did this it’s normal. She did however buy him ankle boots that had hard thick sole. This helped him walk better. He is 18 now and he walks fine. Don’t worry!

  • The Dr told me it was normal when my son was that age. I wouldn’t worry about it. :)

  • try to put him in shoes…lol i don’t know for sure but it could be worth a try

  • It is common for them to walk on tip-toes still at this age, but if you are concerned get him checked out. A child health nurse or doctor would be able to help you and refer you if needed. My son is nearly 4 and sometimes walks on his toes scuffing his feet as he goes. I get him to concentrate on putting his heel down first and walking “heel toe” and we often make a game of it.

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