Toe Walking

Children can be known to have a habit of walking up on the balls of their feet, also known as ‘tip toe walking’. This is a very common part of normal walking development that most children grow out of.

Toe walking:

  • Is very common when a child is first learning to stand and walk
  • May be present up to the age of 2 years
  • Is often intermittent and can become a habit
  • Usually affects both legs
  • Idiopathic toe walkers may develop gastroc tightness and may have learning difficulties and speech and language delay
  • May be family history

What should I look out for?

Your child may be a persistent toe walker if you notice they are walking up on their toes most of the time or having difficulty walking with their heels down, even if you encourage them to.

You should also look out for limping, regular pain complaints and difficulty keeping up with peers.

Guidance and helpful information

Toe walking is often a habit, therefore plenty of encouragement to put heels down and purchasing sturdy high street footwear can help discourage toe walking.

How does physiotherapy help?

A physiotherapist will check the cause of the toe walking; this can either be habit, tightness in their calf muscles, a difference in leg length or a neurological cause.

If there is an underlying cause for toe walking, a physiotherapist can provide appropriate stretches, activities, advice and we may also refer to other services, dependant on our assessment findings.

What happens next?

Your health visitor might be able to check your child’s development and explore your concerns.

You could talk to your child’s pre-school to see if they have noticed the same issues. If you are still concerned talk to your GP.

Once we have received your referral we will provide you with an initial appointment over the phone or by post. The first appointment will take place in a clinic.

Your child will be assessed by the qualified physiotherapist. We will take a detailed history, watch your child doing some functional tasks as well as assessing their range of movement.