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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 front of the foot, with the heel off the floor
  • 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.




Gastrocnemius Stretch

Stretch

Gastrocnemius Stretch

Stand with your hands against the wall, with one leg behind the other. Keeping your back leg straight with your heel on the floor, slowly bend your front knee and lean forwards until you feel the stretch in your calf muscle on your back leg.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 times on each leg, 3 times per day.

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Soleus Stretch

Stretch

Soleus Stretch

Keeping the same position as above, however this time, bend your back knee and sit back as if you were going to sit on a high stool, until you feel the stretch low down in your calf muscle.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 times on each leg, 3 times per day.

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Heel Drop Stretch

Stretch

Heel Drop Stretch

Stand on the bottom step, with your toes on the step, and your heels dangling off the edge of the step. Slowly drop your heels down lower than your toes, until you feel the stretch in your calf muscle.
Hold the stretch for 30 secs.
Repeat 3 times, 3 times per day.

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Crossed Leg ITB Stretch

Stretch

Crossed Leg ITB Stretch

Standing with your legs crossed and feet flat on the ground, reach down to the opposite side until you feel a stretch on the outside of your leg.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 times on each leg, 3 times per day.

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Triangle Stretch

Stretch

Triangle Stretch

Place your hands shoulder width apart and bend your hips while keeping your knees straight to create a ‘triangle’ shape. You should feel a stretch at the backs of your legs.
Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
Repeat 3 times, 3 times per day.

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Crab Backbend

Strength

Crab Backbend

Lying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your bottom and lift your hips straight up and hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down.
Repeat 10 times, 3 times per day.

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Bridge Backbend

Strength

Bridge Backbend

Lying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Squeeze your bottom and lift your hips straight up and hold for 5-10 seconds, then slowly lower your hips back down.
Repeat 10 times, 3 times per day.

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Squats with Heel Down

Strength

Squats with Heel Down

With your feet hip width apart, slowly bend your knees and hips, bringing your knees straight over your toes while keeping both heels flat on the ground.
Repeat 15 times, 3 times per day.

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Sit to Stand

Mobility

Sit to Stand

Practise standing from a chair or stool while keeping both heels flat on the floor. If needed have someone place their hands below your knees and apply a downwards pressure as a cue to keep your heels on the floor.
Repeat 15 times, 3 times per day.

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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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