When a toddler learns to walk, some spend some time walking up on their tiptoes, known as toe walking. Generally, toddlers do toe walking when they want to reach higher points, but as they perfect their walking, they walk more with their whole foot on the ground.
The majority of toddlers will walk with their whole foot by the time they are three. But if you see that your toddler is still doing the toe-walk, read this article to know what it indicates.
Toe walking in toddlers can be classified into four categories -
Neurological conditions such as cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy cause the calf muscle to get tighter or change its usual way of working. This condition makes it hard or sometimes even impossible for the child to get on their heels to walk.
Orthopaedic Conditions such as club foot or calcaneal apophysitis, which is the inflammation of the growth plate in the heel, cause toe-walking. This structural change in the foot makes the usual whole foot walk painful for toddlers, letting them walk with their toes.
Behavioural conditions such as delay in achieving milestones can make some children walk with their toes. Toe walking is also associated with autism spectrum disorders.
And lastly, some children are healthy and, with no medical conditions, persists in walking on their toes. This condition is known as idiopathic toe walking. This is also known as habitual toe walking, with the presumption that a child has formed the habit of walking on its tiptoes.
The most common observation in idiopathic toe walkers is tight calf muscles. The tight calf muscles cause difficulty in walking or running with the whole foot.
Doctors can break treatment for idiopathic toe walking into two types: Conservative and surgical.
Conservative treatment includes verbal reminders, stretching, heavy footwear, etc. On the contrary, the surgical intervention has primarily focused on lengthening the tough band of fibrous tissues that connects the calf muscles to the heel bone.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Talk to your doctor for the best guidance and support.