Children typically learn to walk between 9 and 18 months of age. During this time, they try different foot positions, including walking on their tiptoes. But by age 2, most children walk normally, with feet flat on the ground. If they continue walking on their toes after age 2, the condition is called toe walking and they should see an orthopedic specialist.
Children who toe walk are often able to stand and walk normally when asked to do so, but they prefer to walk on their toes or the balls of the feet.
If toe walking continues, it can cause problems, such as:
A doctor will conduct a thorough history and physical exam, evaluating your child to rule out any neuromuscular or orthopedic problems such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or tight heel cords. Sometimes children with toe walking have other problems like autism, asthma, and speech and language or developmental delays, so the doctor will check for these things, too.
Typically, your child will be monitored and observed. If toe walking is related to other disorders, such as cerebral palsy or autism, the underlying condition will need to be addressed first.
If toe walking still exists when your child is around 4-5, your doctor may recommend one of the following non-surgical treatments:
If these non-surgical treatments are not effective, surgery may be used to lengthen the Achilles tendon.
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