Should You Worry About Toe Walking?

Children who are learning to walk can sometimes practice toe walking. In most instances, the practice is harmless and will correct itself. For some children, toe walking can be an indication of an underlying medical condition. If your child walks on his or her toes, here is what you need to know.  

When Should You Be Concerned?

Toe walking is common for toddler children. As they become more familiar with walking on different surfaces, they should cease the practice of walking on their toes. However, if your child is experiencing other problems while toe walking and is two or older, you should talk to your pediatrician. 

Other problems that you might notice includes stiff muscles, uncoordinated movements, and slow development of motor skills. You should also be concerned if your child is having trouble putting any weight on his or her feet while they are flat on the ground. 

What Could Cause Other Problems?

When toe walking is accompanied by other problems, it is possible that an underlying condition is to blame. Disorders, such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy, can cause toe walking.  

Toe walking has also been associated with autism. Language delays, which impacts your child's communication and socialization skills, can even be linked with toe walking. 

In addition to these causes, toe walking could be caused by the tendon stiffening and preventing your child from fully flexing his or her foot while walking. 

What Can You Do?

One of the first steps you can take is to have your child evaluated by his or her pediatrician. The pediatrician can work with other professionals to fully assess your child's condition. If there are no other problems accompanying the toe walking, it is likely that the doctor might recommend waiting and reassessing your child's condition later.  

After the evaluation, if there are no neurological reasons for the toe walking and the doctor suspects there are physical reasons for the practice, your pediatrician could refer your child to a foot doctor. The doctor could fit your child with a brace that is designed to help correct the issue.  

The foot doctor could also recommend the use of serial casting. Serial casting involves applying a cast to the foot with the idea of stretching the tendon and increasing flexibility so that the toe walking ceases.  

Talk to a pediatrician at a clinic like Laurel Podiatry Associates, LLC about other possible methods of handling toe walking and other associated problems.