December 14, 2015

Chicago Physical Therapy: Toe Walking

Babies typically walk on their toes when they first start learning how to walk. Most children eventually grow out of toe walking and create a normal gait cycle, as they grow older. Toe walking is not a concern until the age of 2. If a child is still walking on their toes by age 3 it might be a sign of a sensory or motor disorder. Chicago Physical Therapy can be used to help your child overcome his or her toe walking regardless of the cause.
Causes of toe walkers:
There is not a clear reason for toe walking, but there are some possible causes. As previously mentioned this behavior may be representative of a motor or sensory issue. The atypical behavior can be caused by tight Achilles tendons, which can lead to a decreased range in foot flexion. Toe walking can also be a symptom of autism, and therefore might be associated with speech delays or other challenges with social interaction and communication.
Chicago Physical Therapy Treatment:
If you are concerned about your child’s toe walking, consult your doctor. Also, Step by Step Care Group can perform a developmental assessment to determine the cause of this behavior. If the child has a sensory issue, he or she might not like the feeling of walking flat on a surface and could require therapy to promote comfort with the sensory system. Our therapists can stimulate body awareness by guiding the child through activities that would benefit him or her. This may require massaging the foot with lotion or walking barefoot with the child on grass and sand. Walking on different surfaces can prompt the child to deal with potential sensory problems by requiring different positions for walking. If the root of the symptom were a motor disorder, Step by Step would guide your child through exercises with a physical therapist to optimize the child’s range of motion. Regardless of what the cause for toe walking might be, Step by Step can provide the help your child needs!


“Your Child Is Walking on Her Toes.” BabyCenter. Babycenter, L.L.C, n.d. Web. 18 June 2015. <http://www.babycenter.com/0_your-child-is-walking-on-her-toes_12580.bc>.

“Toe Walking.” John’s Hopkins Children’s Center. The John Hopkins University, n.d. Web. 18 June 2015. <http://www.hopkinschildrens.org/toe-walking.aspx>.

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