Why Do Some Kids Walk on Their Toes?

Toddler on ToesThis is not “normal” and your child may not “grow out of it.”

As soon as your child walks on his or her toes, be sure to consult a pediatric physical therapist, like those on staff at Brighton Physical Therapy, the sooner the better.

Decide to wait for a child to outgrow the condition is a risky strategy. Walking habits are firmly established by the time a child is 3 years old, and ossification — the changing of cartilage to bone — is complete in the foot before your child turns 7.

Pediatric physical therapists can identify the reason for your child’s toe walking and provide the proper treatment.

Some of the causes of toe walking include:

  • Sensory Processing Dysfunction, which could be sensory seeking or sensory avoiding behavior.
  • Developmental delay, in which there is a core weakness or weakness in the extremities so there is a lack of crawling on all fours.
  • Muscular weakness, especially in the core, gluteals, and anterior tibialis and peroneals.
  • Prematurity.
  • Incompatibility with footwear because the foot is deformed. Prolonged toe walking causes the balls of the feet to widen, and increased bone growth at the heel, which makes footwear uncomfortable.

Be sure to consult a pediatric physical therapist if you notice your child toe walking. Early intervention is important.


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