Toe Walking 101

Every child develops differently as they grow up, and may have some hiccups along the way. Some children may develop toe walking, a condition that affects many children and even adults. While some kids grow out of it, others don’t. Sara Messner, a Physical Therapist at CP, provides her expertise and valuable insights about the basics of toe walking, along with some exercises you can do at home and when you should talk to your doctor.

What is toe walking?
Toe walking typically occurs when a child walks predominantly on their toes rather than using their whole foot. Children who toe walk have a difficult time standing and walking flat-footed, leading to weakness in the calf, hamstring and core muscles. While toe walking is common when children first begin walking, some kids grow out of it and some don’t, that’s where CP Therapy Services comes in!

Exercises to do at home
Each exercise can be done for 30 seconds, twice a day.

  1. Calf stretch 1: Using a binder or elevated surface at home, have your child stand with their heels on the lower end. This provides an extended stretch through the back of the legs, working the muscles that are weak because of toe walking.
  2. Calf stretch 2: Have your child stand on the stairs with their heels hanging off. Your child can wear shoes if that’s more comfortable. This exercise enhances the stretch through the calf, strengthening those weak muscles that cause toe walking.
  3. Incorporate fun activities that focus on balance: Obstacle courses are a great option to make things fun and engaging while building skills. Find different things like stepping stones or small hurdles that make your child focus on their foot placement. You can incorporate fun toys like basketballs or stuffed animals that provide an incentive to successfully complete the course.

When should you talk to a doctor?
When you notice that toe walking becomes your child’s primary way of walking, it’s best to reach out to your primary care doctor and tell them you would like CP Therapy Services for your child’s toe walking. Addressing toe walking right away can prevent it from causing more issues as your child continues to develop. Here are two questions you can ask yourself if you’re unsure whether or not you need to speak with your doctor:

  1. How often is your child toe walking?
  2. Is your child able to stand or walk flat-footed when asked?

If the answer to both questions is no, you should tell your doctor you want CP Therapy Services for your child!

Check out even more tips and exercises regarding toe walking here!

[Post Sponsored by CP]

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