Toe Walking

What is toe Walking?

Toe walking is when a child walks on the balls of their feet without placing their heels on the ground.


Why do children walk on their toes?

When children first start walking, they often try different foot positions including walking on their toes. In children younger than 2, some toe walking is expected and a part of typical development. Some older children with no known medical or developmental conditions will also walk on their toes. In this case, walking on their toes is habitual and is called idiopathic toe walking. Other children may have an underlying medical condition causing toe walking.


What happens if my child continues to walk on their toes?

Over time, children can develop tightness in the calf muscles. Children who toe walk often show poor balance reactions and fall more frequently than their peers. We also see muscular imbalances in the rest of the body including decreased hip and/or core strength.


My child walks on their tiptoes - do I need to worry?

An assessment is recommended if:

  • If you child has been walking on their toes for longer than 6 months

  • Your child is walking on their toes more than 80% of the time


Won’t my child ‘outgrow’ toe walking?

Without treatment, most children do not stop walking on their toes by themselves.


How can I help my child at home?

  • Have your child walk backwards pulling a toy. This encourages weight shifting onto the heels.

  • Practice standing on one foot -yoga “Tree Pose” is fun!

  • Have your child squat down to pick items up off the floor and play in a squat position. This shifts weight onto the heels.

How can physiotherapy help?


Pediatric physiotherapists can assess your child to help determine the cause of their toe walking. Treatment may include stretching tight muscles (generally the calf muscles), strengthening weak muscles (typically gluteals and the muscles at the front of the shin), and providing fun activities you can do at home with your child.


If you have concerns about your child’s toe walking or their physical development, please contact us at Perfect Balance on (02) 441-3316 to book an appointment or arrange a discovery call with one of our pediatric physiotherapists.