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Toe walking in toddlers and children

Toe walking, or walking on the balls of the feet, is very common and normal in infants and toddlers when first learning to walk.

After age 2 most children will start to outgrow toe-walking.

However, some children 2 and older continue to walk on their toes out of habit or because of other conditions.

Causes of toe walking after the age of 2 include short achilles tendons or tight calf muscles as well as neurologic conditions such as cerebral palsy, autism, or muscular dystrophy.

Prolonged toe walking may also run in families.

 

When to see or talk to your pediatrician?

  • If your child walks on their toes or balls of their feet most of the time after age 2.
  • If your child used to walk normally but now walks on their toes.
  • If your child toe walks and you have any other developmental concerns.

 

Treatment, when necessary, may include monitoring over time, stretching, physical therapy, referral to orthopedic or neurologic specialists, leg bracing or splinting, and in rare cases surgery if other treatment is ineffective.

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