Have you noticed your child consistently walking on their toes? While this could be a temporary part of your child’s natural development, prolonged toe walking can have a negative impact on your child’s growth and wellbeing. Keep reading to learn what exactly toe walking is, why it should be addressed, and how pediatric physical therapy can help your child master their walking skills for a brighter future.

What Is Toe Walking?

Toe walking is a walking pattern where a child consistently walks on their toes without their heels touching the ground. While this is normal in young toddlers who are learning to walk, your child should be walking in a regular heel-to-toe pattern by the time they’re two years old.

Why Is Walking Heel-to-Toe Important?

Proper heel-to-toe walking is vital for a child’s development because it:

  • Promotes balanced muscle growth and strength
  • Encourages a healthy posture
  • Affects overall coordination and balance
  • Enables smoother participation in group activities

Signs and Symptoms of Toe Walking

The most obvious symptom of toe walking is that the child walks on the balls of their feet without their heels touching the ground. Other common symptoms or side effects of this condition include:

  • Limited flexibility in the ankle joint
  • Difficulty maintaining balance during various activities
  • Frequent falls or accidents
  • Trouble wearing shoes
  • Chronic or recurring pain in the foot, ankle, or calf

How Physical Therapy Helps with Toe Walking

At Building Futures, our pediatric physical therapists use proven, play-based therapy techniques to build the gross motor skills your child needs for proper walking. We work on strength, balance, coordination, flexibility, and more to ensure your child can play and explore the world around them. For children struggling with toe walking, our therapists can uncover the reason why and work with your child to encourage proper heel-to-toe walking. With routine therapy sessions, we can help your child improve their walking for effective play and improved development.

Will My Child Grow Out of Toe Walking?

While most children may naturally transition out of toe walking as they get older, not all do. Waiting for them to “grow out of it” can lead to physical challenges like pain or stiffness. If your child is about two years old and still toe walking, we recommend you reach out to our skilled physical therapists for support. We can work with your child to ensure they master proper heel-to-toe walking for improved overall development.

Free Developmental Screening

If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you can take advantage of our free online developmental screening. This tool is a convenient way for parents to know with certainty if your child is achieving their developmental milestones or if they need extra support to achieve their brightest future.

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