Hi, I’m Tiffany, I’m a pediatric occupational therapist (OT) here at NAPA and today we’re talking about toe walking. Toe walking isn’t a normal gait pattern in childhood. Early walkers sometimes lead with their toes because they’re relying on their visual system to take steps. If your child has been walking for more than a few months and you see that they are up on their toes, it is time to get an evaluation.
Now, why does toe walking happen? It’s a question we often get. Well. unfortunately, there’s many reasons why a child may be toe walking. PT’s often address the ankle and foot misalignment or decreased muscle strength. However, toe walking could be sensory related as well. So, your OT may be able to tell you if the vestibular system or proprioceptive system is giving the brain misinformation about body position and movement. Additionally, if a child is sensitive to touch, they may raise up on their toes to avoid uncomfortable surfaces. It is important to get your child evaluated if they are toe walking because it could lead to muscle stiffness, joint pain, and decreased function. If you notice that your child is walking on their toes, it’s important to see a therapist to address those underlying causes.
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