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Toe Walking Information & Exercises

What is Toe Walking?

Toe-walking is an abnormal walking pattern demonstrating the inability to make heel-to-ground contact.

Children generally grow out of toe walking by the age of 2 years. Children who continue to do so after this time are diagnosed as persistent toe walkers, and will require medical intervention.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Walking on the toes or ball of their foot
  • Tightness in calf muscles
  • Foot or leg pain
  • Difficulty with participating in normal sporting activities

What exercises can help toe walkers?

Make treatment fun and engaging to encourage your child to participate. Persevere with exercises and turn them into games.

Stretch
  • Row Row Your Boat
  • Calf Stretch
  • Gastrocnemius Stretch
  • Soleus Stretch
  • Heel Drop Stretch
  • Crossed Leg ITB Stretch
  • Triangle Stretch

Strength
  • Crab Backbend
  • Bridge Backbend
  • Assisted Squat
  • Squats with Heel Down
  • Foot-held Squat

Mobility
  • Penguin Walk
  • Tandem Walk
  • Sit to Stand



Stretch

Gastrocnemius Stretch

Image of child pressing hands to wall while placing one foot in front of the other, and bending the front knee to stretch the back leg

Stretch

Soleus Stretch

Image of child pressing hands to wall while placing one foot in front of the other, and bending both knees to stretch the ankles and calves

Stretch

Heel Drop Stretch

Child standing with toes on a step, so that heels hang off and drop

Stretch

Crossed Leg ITB Stretch

Stretch

Triangle Stretch

Strength

Crab Backbend

Strength

Bridge Backbend

Strength

Squats with Heel Down

Mobility

Sit to Stand


What other treatments are available for toe walking?

  • High-top trainers are less flexible at the front and top which may discourage children standing on their toes
  • Heavy shoes or boots may also encourage walking on flat feet
  • Leg braces or splints that hold the foot in the correct position
  • Serial casting can be used to slowly bring the toes toward the shin

If toe walking is impacting your child’s walking ability and motor skills your GP can refer them to a Paediatric Podiatrist.

You can also contact us for Paediatric Physio & Sports Therapy: 01214 394 730, 07722 327 546.

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