'Toe Walking' After Cast Removal... So Sad to Watch!

Updated on September 16, 2011
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
11 answers

OKAY, I KNOW the doctor said it can take anywhere from 2-6 WEEKS for my 21 month old son to walk properly again after his leg cast came off, but this is so pitiful and makes me so sad watching my son try to walk.

I know that it's only been 2 days, but he's still acting like the cast is on there... like he doesn't pull his heel down, won't bend his knee, still swings his leg wide to the side to walk, and I KNOW that he needs to build that muscle back... it's just so sad!

I've been laying him on his back and doing 'the bicycle kick' thing with him, trying to remind him that he can bend his ankle and knee and hip... he thinks it's funny... and I put shoes on him (should I not do that?) which he was SO excited about, but because he won't put his heel down, the shoe falls off, and he gets upset.

So what should I be doing and NOT doing to help him? He's reeeeally babying that leg/foot... I try to remind myself that it took 4 weeks to learn to compensate for the cast, so it will probably take 4 weeks to correct it... but in the meantime, it pains me to watch my little dude walking all gimpy :(

Anyone else had a situation like this? What did you do? I've broken a lot of bones, and never walked crazy weird when the cast came off... maybe limped a bit the first few days because of the muscle degeneration, but then I was fine.

He also goes back in 6 weeks so the doctor can see how he's walking.

Again, I KNOW it's a little early to worry, but I can deal with blood, brains, guts, and puke better than broken bones!! I can't help but think 'what if he walks like this forever?!' :(

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So What Happened?

@Grandma T, the pool is a great idea!

@Cheryl, got it, you're so right... I don't even think I realize I'm doing it 1/2 the time, he always wants to be on my hip anyway... LOL

@Megan, you're spot on, I think it's his tendon too, and I've been doing those exercises with him (NO the doc didn't tell me too, but I think he was a little flustered because Roman was screaming his fool head off!)

Featured Answers


answers from Norfolk on

Give it time and don't do anything out of ordinary than you usually do.
He'll be walking just fine well before Trick or Treat.
Does he have a tricycle or big wheels?
The peddling is good exercise.
So is climbing around a play ground or kicking a ball around.
He might not be ready for a bounce house yet.
All you need to do is keep an eye on him and try to STOP WORRYING so much.
Kids bounce back fast from stuff like this.
Before you know it he'll be running so fast you'll have a hard time catching him.

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answers from Redding on

Any way you can get him into a swimming pool? that would be some great PT for him. He'll get used to it Rach, I'm sure it's a bit tender and stiff he'll be back to normal before you know it.
I know it doesnt feel like it to you, but it seems like he just got that cast such a short time ago and now it's already off. I remember feeling so bad for you when he first got it, figuring it would seem like an eternity. If you dont have a pool, I'd let him take long playful baths in a deeper than normal bathtub, it will really help loosen up his tight hamstring, and definitely keep doing the bicycle exercise on him.

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answers from Washington DC on


When I had my cast off my leg - I was 21 - and it took ME at least 5 days to "walk" normal again...

DO NOT pick him up and carry him - get him to walk there...continue the physical therapy - bicycle exercises, stretches, etc. when he walks on his tippy toes, stop him and help him "walk"....

You are over thinking this and scared....don't worry about the "what if" - he is VERY VERY young so it probably VERY hard for him as he hasn't been walking for years...only months...so his brain is going to work it out...just do NOT pick him up and carry him...got it?

let him chase River..
Let him chase you...or Rob or Emmy & Maddy....encourage running and such...


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answers from Detroit on

Awe, poor little man. I had a cast up to my hip my I was like 8. I remember trying to bend my knee after I got it off and it hurt like heck!

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answers from Toledo on

He will be fine, just keep doing what you are doing and dont focus on what he is doing. If you brign attention to it he will continue to do it. When my DD cast came off her arm, it was about 2 weeks till she started using it normally. First it was sore and the muscles had shrunk a bit. After about 3 weeks when she wasn't paying attention she was using it just fine, then if we said something she would revert to babying it.
It is sad :-( you want your baby 100% again,but the more you focus on it, the more he will too.
Hang in there your doing great.

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answers from Phoenix on

slow down, take a deep breath and let out. lol he will be fine. heres a hug for you. he will start walking the right way, i promise........my oldest walked tip toe for the first 6 months. and that was with no cast. your doing great!!!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Take a breath mama :) he'll readjust sooner rather than later. I broke my ankle in january and even after the cast and boot came off it took a while and lots of physical therapy to get me back into a some what normal walking gait. And I'm still not 100% there.

Definitely keep putting shoes on him, but make sure they are properly fitting tennis shoes or something supportive. I wouldn't recommend sandles or clogs or crocs or anything like that for now. The tennis shoes won't fall off AND they'll give him proper support till he adjusts back to walking normal.

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answers from Washington DC on

Been there!
Have him wear tennis shoes or shoes that tie/velcro. Then they won't fall off.

Sounds like his Achilles tendon is tight which is understandable. The dr. should've shown you some exercises in addition to the bicycle kick for his knee. His ankle and tendon need to be stretched.

When you have him laying down for the bicycle kicks, stretch his leg out.
Set his ankle in your left palm, place your right hand on his toes and then slowly push up towards his knee.
Count to 3. Release
Repeat and count to 5. Release.
Repeat about 4 times.
Do the same thing to the other leg so that they will feel the same.


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answers from Houston on

My DD had a full leg cast for 2 months when she was 19 months old. Long story. It took her a while to walk properly as well. Just make sure he walks and don't carry him as much. That is what the doctor told us. Just give it time.

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answers from Charlotte on

Just saw your question, R.. Does your insurance cover PT? If it does, call your doc and ask for a prescription for some PT for him. He'll love going - they make it fun. And it will help you by showing you some 'tricks of the trade' that you can do at home to help him.




answers from Albuquerque on

My son had a full leg cast when he was almost 3. When the cast was on he walked with it on, of course with his leg out, so when it came off he walked the same way straight and all. Eventually he'll get back to walking normal, kids are resiliant.