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Have you noticed that some kids prefer to walk on their toes? Keep watching to learn about toe walking as well as some tips on how to encourage kids to walk with their heels down.

So what exactly is idiopathic toe walking?

Toe walking is normal in children up to the age of 3, but some kids continue to walk up on their toes after 3 years old. There are a lot of reasons that can contribute to toe walking. Here is a list of a few contributing factors: muscular conditions such as tight calves or sore heels; or neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy. It can even just be a habit.

Idiopathic means “of no known cause” – so idiopathic toe walking means that the child has no known pathologies that are causing them to walk this way. Usually, idiopathic toe walking will resolve by the age of 5 when the weight of their body shifts backwards and will eventually bring the heels down. But, having toe walked for a number of years, often this results in further muscular issues. When you continuously walk on your toes, the calf muscle can become very tight. The ankle can get stiff and the muscles in the legs become weak from not being used correctly.

If you are noticing that your child toe walks, book in with a physiotherapist here at Miami Physio or Lakelands physiotherapy for a paediatric assessment. Keep watching to learn about tips to encourage walking with the heels down.

How to help your child to walk with their heels down

There are a few ways to help your kid to walk with their heels down. Exercises such as balancing on one leg, “tight-rope walking”, heel walking, and squatting can help your child to get used to putting their weight on their heels more. However, these exercises need to be done often and will take time and patience to see a change. This is because the exercises are trying to undo the effects of years of toe walking! Your child should be able to do these exercises quite easily, as idiopathic toe walking is mostly due to an ongoing habit.

If your child is finding these exercises hard to do, it tells us that their calf muscles might be tight, or their ankles stiff – making it more difficult. If so, book an appointment with me, our paediatric physiotherapist at Miami or Lakelands Physiotherapy so that I can assess your kid’s toe walking and start your child on a treatment plan.

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