27 answers

Tip Toe Walker

My son has been walking on his tip toes since his first steps and it is becoming more and more frequent. I never even thought of it as a problem and just decided to look it up today. A lot of what I have found online deals with learning and neurological disorders. He is so smart and clever, though! Does anyone have any experience or advice on this topic?

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So What Happened?™

Thank you to everyone who responded to my concern. It is such a great feeling knowing that there are caring people out there in our community! We have a doctor's appointment on wednesday!! Thanks again!

Featured Answers

buy high top walker shoes and keep them on him even at the house it will prevent him from the tip toe and make him walk with his feet flat. Most babies start out tip toe walking and will out grow it this just helps it along and trains them younger.

I have a pediatric therapy clinic, so we see everything!
This could be NOTHING! Or it could be extremely serious. Some kids toe walk because they are sensitive to the feeling of the ground under their feet. And some kids toe walk because the muscles in their legs aren't growing while the bones are, so they must toe walk. There is just no way to know unless you ask his pediatrician.

N., I completely understand the concern you must feel, as my ds does the same thing and is around the same age. He is built like my hubby and recently his family told me he did the same thing when he was young. My dh is one of the smartest most incredible people I know, so I am no longer concerned. I just tell my son to walk on his feet when he does it and he'll usually go back down to his feet. Try no to fret over it. It sounds like you have nothing to be concerned about.

More Answers

My daughter was a tip toe walker. My husband was constantly worried about it and I laughed it off saying it was just the way she liked to walk. I walked on my knees for several months, and turned out fine, so I figured it was nothing.

About six months into the tip toe walking (I should say into the time when my husband expressed most of his concern about it continuing, since she always walked on her tip toes), my daughter started limping. We took her to the pediatrician and he said she probably sprained her ankle. It continued to get worse to the point where she wouldn't walk at all. The pediatrician said she was probably just overusing the ankle that wasn't sprained. Whenever she was home, she wouldn't walk, but at the doctor's office, she'd get up and limp, so he thought she was fine. He told us to just keep an eye on it.

Two weeks later, my daughter started running a 104 temperature and became completely rigid. She didn't want to be held or touched. She also started vomiting. We took her to the ER and they quarantined her for four days (thinking she had some strange virus) and ran all sorts of tests. They concluded it might be juvenile arthritis. My daughter was 22 months old.

We were referred to Scottish Rite Hospital and they confirmed it was JA. They had my daughter crawl on the floor and pointed out that her left wrist had lost all range of motion - something we never noticed because she's right-handed and had been compensating with her right wrist to carry stuff, etc. We also had no idea that kids got arthritis. Also, I had thought her knees looked very fat, but the pediatrician said it was baby fat and would eventually slim down. Nope - it was the inflammation from the arthritis attacking her joints.

Juvenile Arthritis is pretty rare, but it does seem to emerge around 2-3 years old and again around 10-13. It affects more girls than boys, but boys do get it. It also doesn't have to present itself like my daughter's case. Every case seems to be different. My daughter's arthritis seems to be triggered by stomach viruses. Her body tries to attack the stomach virus and then goes overboard and starts attacking itself, which presents as inflammation in her joints.

While the chances of your son having JA are slim, I write all this to say that you should have the tip toe walking checked out and keep an eye on it just in case it is more than just a preferred way of walking for now. I wish we had pursued my daughter's tip toeing sooner to avoid the damage she has to some of her joints.

Also, most pediatricians won't know anything about JA, so unless there is an extreme case (like my daughter's ER trip), most kids don't get a real diagnosis for years. So if you take your son to the pediatrician and he/she thinks it's nothing, if you notice any signs of JA, you should press your pediatrician for further testing.

JA usually presents itself in larger joints - knees, ankles, wrists, but can also show up in fingers, toes, etc. If you notice your son has limited range of motion with his wrists, knees, ankles, fingers, toes, or his joints seem hot to the touch or swollen (this isn't always constant - it can come and go), ask to be referred to a pediatric rheumatologist just to get it ruled out. There are only a couple in Dallas and it can take months to get in to see one.

Hopefully it's nothing to worry about with your son, but I wanted to share my experience with the tip toe walking as a parent who thought it was nothing to worry about and now regrets not pursuing it further.

1 mom found this helpful

Ok My daughter did and still does walk on her tip toes at that age. I have ask the Dr about it and he says alot of kids to it. Its perfectly normal!!! I think they just want to be a little taller. Remember we are gaints to them and when they stand they feel so small.

I only read the last few responses you received and i do see your update and you have an appointment. that's good. I think it's great to go to the doctor b/c unless you do you can't know if there is a problem. Someone mentioned and I was going to mention scottish rite hospital. my two year old son did the same thing yours is doing so the doc sent us there and they are SO great there! they don't charge you either! anyway, it's a simple trip out there, very nice doc, and he said the same thing one of your responses said their pediatrician said---if he COULD walk flat but was choosing not to then he was fine. however, dont' make that diagnosis on your own. go to the doctor even if it's your pediatrician. I was probably in teh same boat when i was a little kid...my granny often told me i was supposed to have braces but didn't...well, i had a not server but still very irritating and often painful tight cord in my leg that made walking hard, especially when i was getting heavier after high school---made it feel like the bone in my leg was about to pop out of my skin! and all it was was a tight tendon or something. anyway, perhaps that wouldn't have been my fate if i'd had those braces. who knows. i'm fine but not always comfortable. I hope yourson is like mine and will out grow the habit or whatever it is. he's a perfect seven year old now with no problem.

Tip toe walking is not normal development. It should be looked into and addressed by a pediatric doctor or by a physiotherapist. Putting them into high top boots without other intervention is not sufficient. The child will not have enough range of motion to walk properly and will end up skipping - you think "oh my son is so happy he is skipping" reality is that he is skipping because he does not have enough planter flexion (ability to bend his foot up) to have a proper walking gait. If left unattended it will effect their ability to engage in sports and will put added strain on other parts of the muscular skeletal system.

N., I completely understand the concern you must feel, as my ds does the same thing and is around the same age. He is built like my hubby and recently his family told me he did the same thing when he was young. My dh is one of the smartest most incredible people I know, so I am no longer concerned. I just tell my son to walk on his feet when he does it and he'll usually go back down to his feet. Try no to fret over it. It sounds like you have nothing to be concerned about.

N.,
My daughter who is now 26 has and will always be a tip toe walker. She is married and a PISD Team Leader teacher.
She is just perfect and has great calves.
Please check with your pediatrician if you are concerned or an orthopedic to get peace of mind.
Don't let it wear you down.
M.
Mother of 3 girls and
Owner of Aqua~Fit Swim School and Wellness Center

My almost two year old walks on his tip toes too! I haven't noticed anything wrong with his development either! He is a very smart boy and learns very quickly. I wouldn't worry about this at all! Just ask the doctor the next time you are there! My husband used to walk on his tip toes too and never had any problems either! Go with your gut, if you feel there is need to be worried, then you are right to ask questions! HTH!

tip-toe walking is a red flag for autism spectrum; you've probably come across that in your research. (autistic children are typically extremely smart!) how old is he? does he have any other odd behaviors? run over to http://www.generationrescue.org and look at their list of what to check as red flags. my son is autistic and i've been down the road of trying to figure out what's going on with him. he's never been a toe walker, but had other odd behaviors that i dismissed for months, thinking it was just his personality, but when he stopped eye contact and didn't respond to us, i had a friend lovingly and bravely approach me about the possibility, and i thank God for her because i had no clue about autism and i've no idea how long he would have gone w/o help had she not spoken up.

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