Tiptoeing Child – Should You Worry?

Are you concerned because your baby is tiptoeing instead of walking on her entire feet? Most babies “toe walk” while cruising (moving around a space by holding objects placed there), particularly on a bare floor.

Some babies keep walking on their toes infrequently, just because they find it fun. For example, your little daughter may tiptoe while copying a model or ballet dancer she saw on TV.

In general, there is nothing to worry about if your baby tiptoes before the age of 2. Even kids who tiptoe after age 2 usually do so just out of habit. You can buy a lot of toys from and enjoy watching your kid playing with them.

However, you need to talk to your kid’s doctor, if your kid:

  • Tiptoes most of the time
  • Is uncoordinated
  • Has stiff muscles
  • Seems not being able to bear his weight on a flat foot
  • Stumbles, walks awkward or has a waddling gait
  • Seems slow in the development of motor skills like picking up things with her thumb and fingers
  • Is losing motor skills she originally had

Causes of Tiptoeing

If your baby always toe walks, he may have a physical problem, like a short Achilles tendon that is preventing him from standing flat-footed and restricts the range of motion in his ankle.

However, if your baby constantly walks on her toes and cannot walk with his foot flat on the ground, it may be a sign of a motor disorder like cerebral palsy.

Cerebral palsy is of several kinds of which the most common is “spastic” meaning the affected muscles become stiff. Prematurely born kids are at a higher risk of having cerebral palsy.

Thus, if you see your baby walking on his toes, understand that he might have some form of cerebral palsy that has made his Achilles tendon so tight that his toes point down and heel is pulled up.

There may be other problems that your kid’s toe walking may be associated with such as autism spectrum disorder and language delays.

So, you should check whether your kid has issues in communication and socialization. You may even plan a development assessment.

If no issues like mentioned above are found in your kid, she may be diagnosed with a disorder known as idiopathic toe walking.

This means that the cause of the problem is not known and perhaps your kid tiptoes just out of habit. This kind of tiptoeing goes over time. Your kid can enjoy playing with the durable push along toys from Tiny Tiny Shop Shop without any problem.

Suggestions by Your Doctor

Your doctor may perform an evaluation of brain function as well as motor development of your kid’s brain to plan the best treatment.

Early diagnosis is important because surgery or physiotherapy can bring an improvement in muscle strength and motor skills and stop damage to muscles that help joints move.

In that case, your baby will have to wear an ankle-foot orthosis, a light plastic brace that stretches the back of the leg and enable the foot to be held at a 90-degree angle.

This device can be worn during day and night until the problem resolves. You can remove it while taking a bath etc.

Another treatment is serial casting. Here an orthopedist applies fibreglass or plastic casts in a series that extend and lengthen the tendon and expand the range of movement of ankle.

The casts are to be changed every a few weeks or till the tendon stretches and they are no longer required once the tendon is stretched enough.

However, these casts cannot be temporarily removed like the braces mentioned above.

In rare cases, the tiptoeing children may have to undergo a surgery.

All in all, you don’t have to worry if your baby is tiptoeing once in a while. It’s only a concern if she does it continuously. In that case, you can take her to your doctor and start the necessary treatment to rectify any problem.