Toe Walking

What is Toe Walking

Most children begin to walk between the ages of 10 to 20 months.

Some children begin to walk on their tip toes instead of typical heel-to-toe walking .

This normally resolves within the first year of learning to walk.

It is almost always gone by the end of the third year.

Toe walking is when a child continues to walk on their tip toes from 3 years of age.

Image result for toe walking cartoon

Types of Toe Walking


  1. “Habitual” or “Idiopathic” toe walking  (Most Common)

    Idiopathic toe walking is the most common type of toe walking and most children outgrow the condition by the time of adolescence.In the past, complex shoes, braces, castings or even surgery  were used to correct the deformity, but current research has steered away from this.

  2. Anatomical Cause – Short Achilles tendon or limited ankle motion

    If there is a physical reduction in motion of the ankle to its normal position this can result in children walking on their tip toes.
  3. Muscle Spasticity

    Certain conditions increase the tone in the calf muscles which also causes people to walk on the balls of the foot (Cerebral Palsy, Intellectual Disability)

Problems with Toe Walking

There is debate about the long term complications associated with toe walking.

  • There is no evidence in the literature that toe walking is detrimental to your child in the long term
  • Although there is little good evidence, toe walking may theoretically cause problems with the ankle, knee, hips and lower back due to the altered mechanics of the lower limb.

Treatment of Toe Walking
Treatment will depend on the cause of the toe walking.
  • “Habitual” or “Idiopathic” toe walking  (Most Common)

    Most cases of idiopathic toe walking will resolve without any treatment –  A child with this particular type of toe walking will typically grow out of this into adolescence or young adulthood.

    There is some suggestion that shoe modification, stretching regimes, Botox injections, night splints, orthotics and proprioception therapy may be beneficial but long term effectiveness compared to a child ‘just growing out of the problem’ has not been thoroughly studied.

  • Anatomical Cause – Short Achilles tendon or limited ankle motion or Spasticity

    Where there is a structural cause of toe walking such as shorted Achilles or Muscle spasticity, treatment may include:

    • Shoe modification, stretching regimes, Botox injections, night splints and orthotics, surgical lengthening of the calf


The Ankle, Foot and Orthotic Centre’s Northcote Podiatrists can help you with all your lower limb complaints, including toewalking. Make an appointment to get your problem under control.

Expert Podiatrists for the treatment of toe walking servicing the areas of Northcote, Thornbury, Fitzroy, North Fitzroy, Carlton, North Carlton, Alphington, Fairfield, Brunswick, Coburg and Preston

Call The Ankle, Foot and Orthotic Centre for further advice on professional management and treatment options.