Skip to main content

Southlake Style

Physical Therapy Addresses Toe Walking

Aug 15, 2017 04:40PM ● By Dia

Intermittent toe walking is considered normal while a child is learning to walk. It is then considered atypical after the child is 2 years old, or is on their toes more than 50% of the time when they are walking. It is important to have him/her evaluated by a physical or occupational therapist. Often times a parent's observation is "they seem more comfortable and stable when they walk on their toes" or "their legs seem tighter and stronger than most other kids."

What can cause toe walking?

There are several reasons why a child may walk on their toes, so one is unable to make a further diagnosis based on this behavior alone. The causes of toe walking range from muscle tightness to sensory processing disorder (SPD), children receive intense proprioceptive input to the calf muscle in their legs when they do it, to Autism Spectrum (AS), or it could be idiopathic; which means that there is no known cause.

Will my child need physical therapy?

Left untreated, long-term toe walking may lead to: joint contractures (shortening of the ligaments and joint) in the feet, ankles, and knees; muscle imbalance; compensation in the knees, hips , or back leading to future pain or breakdown; tendonitis at the ankle; poor balance and increased risk of falling; and pain in the legs and back.

What does physical therapy involve?

Determining your child's current range of motion and a gait assessment, and then individualized stretches to increase mobility, and exercises to decrease muscle imbalance. Significant tightness may require the use of splints which are braces that are worn to gently stretch out the ankles and calf muscles.  

How long will physical therapy last?

It is important to remember that every child is different, and any possible underlying cause may change the length of physical therapy. The physical therapist will specifically tailor your child's treatment plan to meet your child's individual needs. Your child's outcomes will also depend on consistency with the home exercise program and attendance to each of the physical therapy sessions.



For more information on toe walking and other therapies ABC-Pediatrics provides; please call us at 972-410-5297 or email us at to discuss your child, ask any questions or begin the intake process. You can also use the contact form by using this link   We are here to help!

Sponsored content