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Friends and Feet

Emily had her last playgroup yesterday! Soooo sad! These three started playgroup together when they were just infants. Emily, Alex and Jackson. We are also so sad that Jackson will be moving this weekend.
More time with the goats!!!! The highlight of Silver Dollar City last weekend.
Sarah Kate always walks on her toes. She had her three year check-up this week. I discussed the toe walking with her Dr. He suggested we give it 6 months and then see a pediatric orthopedist. He told me to remind her to walk on her heels. He said that her muscles were tight, but not super tight. He said it was good that she WAS ABLE TO put her feet flat. He told me that the only real fix was to do surgery.
Have you had experience with a child walking on their toes?

Comments

Shannon said…
Hi,

First, I must say I love your blog. Your family is precious.

As for Sarah Kate walking on her toes. I would think you could try braces and physical therapy before surgery. A pediatric orthopedist will be able to give you some direction on this. I hope there are some readers who can share here that have personal experience either with their children or from working with children.

I have a slight case of cerebral palsy, and I don't heal strike very well with my right foot. I did have an AFO brace at different times. I didn't mind the brace at all as long as it was fitted well because I saw improvement. SK is young, she will overcome it easily.

Shannon
Meg said…
My 4 year old still walks on his toes. We did physical therapy which didn't help a whole lot. He now also has night braces to wear while he sleeps to help stretch the heel cord. We actually went to a specialist who was not overly concerned. She said to remind him and to wear the night braces which should help. I asked her about surgery and she said she absolutely didn't see that happening. I would check on the night braces. :)
Elizabeth said…
I know there is a link to autism and walking on toes, not saying she is autistic, clearly that is not the case... but it's usually more of a behavioral type thing than physical abnormality with her feet. My nephew does this too sometimes, just remind her not to, and she'll become aware of it. Ask another pediatrician before going to a podiatrist, that just sounds strange to jump to that conclusion of something really being wrong with her feet unless they are too stiff or hurting her.
Debbie said…
Ive read your blog for a while now, but I don't believe I have ever commented. My cousins little girl walked on her tiptoes. She could put her feet flat when she stopped but when she walked she was always on her tiptoes. I don't know the doctors terms on this but I will explain the best I can. The back of her ankle was where it would hurt her. The muscle or tissues back there were not long enough and it would hurt her everytime she put her foot down, hence on the tiptoes. She did have surgery which corrected it. I would get it checked out to make sure, some can be habit, but it could be a different problem. I'll be praying for her, hope everything goes well. Blessings, Debbie
Brittney said…
None of my kids walk on their toes, but my little cousin used to. Whenever she would walk on her toes we would remind her, "flat feet Kels!" And she would usually correct herself.
Lauren walks on her toes all the time. She always has. She will be 3 in October and we were told not to worry about it as long as she's physically capable to NOT walk on her toes. She will walk heel first every so often so we know she's fine. Sometimes I feel like doc's recommend extreme things, like seeing specialist and surgery, because it's more money to them. That's just my opinion after some medical problems we've had with Lauren (food related, etc).
Nancy said…
My niece did that when she was little! My sister took her to an orthopedic as well & she outgrew it! Wish we lived close & I could do some massage to release that tight connective tissue! Do you know any massage therapists that could work on her!?
Heather said…
My niece was a KNEE walker and it had us all worried sick. She finally started walking at 19months and when my sister in law called to tell me she had taken her first steps finally, I CRIED from relief. Conversely, my Austin who is mildly autistic walked at 8 months old and - other than a slight turn out of his feet - walked perfectly. Maybe you should just put her in ballet! LOL!

heather
Heather said…
My niece was a KNEE walker and it had us all worried sick. She finally started walking at 19months and when my sister in law called to tell me she had taken her first steps finally, I CRIED from relief. Conversely, my Austin who is mildly autistic walked at 8 months old and - other than a slight turn out of his feet - walked perfectly. Maybe you should just put her in ballet! LOL!

heather
The Howell's said…
My 6 year has always walked on her toes. :) Pediatrician said as long as she was able to walk heal-toe, there wasn't a problem for concern. I do remind her to walk heal-toe every time I catch her walking on her toes. ;)
Bronson Family said…
Hi Laurie,

My daughter who is 4 also walks on her toes. She already was seeing an orthopedic surgeon because she was born with mild hip dysplasia. I mentioned it to him at her appointment and he checked her out. She is not tight at all but he said she is in the habit and we should break it sooner than later otherwise her heel cord would tighten up and she wouldn't be able to go flat. Then surgery would be the only option. He put her in AFO braces. She got them in December and for the first few months she was to wear them as much as possible. She now only has to wear them for a couple of hours morning and night. I have seen improvement but she does still walk on her toes. The doctor also suggested when I see her walking on her toes to have her walk on her heels for a little bit. We kind of make it into a game. I think reminders are helpful too. I wouldn't worry too much but I would maybe see a pediatric orthopedic doctor just to get their opinion. I hope I helped a little.
Danae said…
My best friends daughter who is now 10 has ALWAYS walked on her toes like that. She has taken her to doctors and specialists, and they all agreed that the best thing to do is practice walking on her heels. Make it a habit. Now when she sees her on her toes she just gives her a quick reminder. Some days she reminds her a lot but most days not at all. Good Luck! She is adorable!
Lori said…
When our daughter was around 4 and 5 she would walk on her toes. We just keept reminding her "flat feet" and she'd walk normal. Eventually she grew out of the "toe walking". No problems as she got older.
Melissa said…
my nephew (now 16) was a toe walker...surgery was recommended, but they did not get it for him and they recommended night braces; but for whatever reason they didn't do that either...he finally walks normal...but it was hard only because his muscles/tendons/whatever tightened that way and to undo the damage was tough.

good luck!
Amanda said…
Laurie, I've been reading your blog for about a year now but I really stink at commenting. So sorry! I'm trying to get better :)

Just stopping by to say hi!

My sister walked on her "tippy toes" when she was SK's age. The doctor also told us to encourage her to walk on her heels and she eventually did walk flat0it was just a phase for her. Good luck! :)
J. Johnson said…
My daughter was a toe walker, and when she was SK's age, I was told not to worry, as she could put her feet flat. However, she still wasn't walking heel-toe at age 7, and by that time, she couldn't put her foot flat. She wore braces in her shoes for a year, and had exercises she had to do each day. Now at age 13, she walks heel-toe with no issues.
Karen said…
My daugter is one month older than Sarah Kate and she does this all the time. I never thought it could be a problem. Thanks for mentioning it!
Laurie said…
hi laurie,
love your name! :)

i am a pediatric occupational therapist - i would DEFINITELY recommend an orthopedist and both physical and occupational therapy evaluations. the toe walking could be due to tightness, but also due to "sensory" things, like some defensiveness to the way she perceives feelings through her feet - sometimes this is the case just as much as the tightness. it's also sometimes just a bad habit that needs to be resolved. it's not a concern anatomically and won't hurt her...but can affect things like dance and sports activities in the future - better to resolve it now. if she's still doing it at her age, it most likely won't resolve in six months - i would call your pediatrician back and say that you just feel more comfortable if she were evaluated sooner rather than later...better safe than sorry :)

and no...i'm not an OT trying to drum-up business...just offering my opinion :)

laurie
Angie said…
brooklynn did this when she was sarah kates age a lot!!!! my mom said i did too when i was little.

she completely outgrew it and now does tumble and has full strength and is doing back handsprings with a spot!
The Timbs Clan said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Krista said…
My nephew used to walk on one toe and one regular foot! He looked so silly, but eventually outgrew it.

We did a Google search not too long ago about heel-to-toe walking, just out of curiosity, and there were TONS of results for toe walking, so it must be fairly common. I agree that if it still concerns you in a few months, visit a different pediatrician before you jump to the extreme!
Lin said…
According to my parents I've walked on my toes since I started to walk. My Mother said she thought it started when I walked in the grass and didn't like the feel of it on my feet. At any rate I'm now 45 and STILL walk on my toes but only if I am barefoot. Otherwise I walk "normal". No problems at all. BTW, I never comment but I love your blog. You're so funny!
Michelle said…
I found your blog through Kelly's Korner. In June 2010 my then 6 year girl was a toe walker with overlapping toes and a bunion. We went to an orthopedist and got an orthopedic insert. Then we went to Physical Therapy for 2 months. Turns out she is tall (like off the charts) and her legs grew too fast so her leg muscles were tight. Our PT was her Upward Basketball coach's sister and goes to church with us. At the beginning we stretched every night, but now we only do it when she needs it or asks. She went from not being able to run to the leading scorer on her soccer team. She also couldn't ride a bike. We do have to buy shoes that are wide to accommodate her insert. Thankfully it's one that can grow and they'll reshape it for us.

It could be something, it could be nothing, but better to get it checked.
Lane said…
I am a toe walker to this day. I don't do as often as I did when I was child though. Does she walk on her toes when she wears her shoes? Is she able to walk on her heels?
The Andlers said…
only one other person mentioned running, so i will comment on that. my little cousin and his mom are toe walkers, so we have a little experience with this. he has been in therapy for it, but i'm not sure about the results. the hard thing for him is running. he is now 10 and can't really run well at all. he has totally forsaken all sports because he can't run "normal" and it kind of makes me sad because i know he would enjoy sports. he has other hobbies, but i really wish they would have addressed this issue at a younger age to help him learn to run better. not just to play sports, but for his physical health throughout this life. early intervention is always the best.
Robin said…
My friend's daughter is 9 and has always walked on her toes. She also has seen a doctor and was told as long as she was able to walk heel to toe there wasn't a concern. I think she just does it out of habit. We call her Miss Priss!
shelley said…
My daughter turned 3 at the end of May & walks on her toes most of the time. She can walk flat footed, but I have to remind her. She runs perfectly fine-in fact, she's a great runner. I had read somewhere about the link between autism & toe walking, so I was a little freaked about that. But, that.'s what I get for googling it!:). All this to say, I think it's just something she does & will stop eventually. I did enroll her in a dance class for the fall - maybe this will help. I'm not too worried & if there's something to worry about I generally will.
Jodi said…
I don't comment here often, but I'll give you my experience. My now 4 year old walked on her toes *a lot of the time* for about 18 months. She never does now. My 2 year old walks on her toes probably 50% of the time. She will probably grow out of it and it is probably not a problem at all.

Cute pics!
MissBrightside said…
My friend Jenny is a woman in her 30's, and still walks on her toes. She can walk "normally" but she just doesn't feel as comfortable. She has no foot or leg problems and she has never had any type of therapy or taken any actions to correct it. SK may just prefer walking on her toes :O)
Anonymous said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said…
My best friends kids, all three of them are/were toe walkers...they did PT and are all doing great! I would try that first before surgery!
Love your blog~
Haley
Jill said…
Amelia walks on her toes a lot but not all of the time. She hates the feeling of the carpet, wood floors, grass, etc, on her feet. She asks for shoes to be put on her feet and then will walk flat footed.
denise said…
My daughter is 6 and a toe walker. I am a peds OT and took her to an ortho doc, who said it was both behavioral and genetic! Now we have her do a lot of toe touches and streching to keep everything loose. It helps. We also don not allow her just to stand on her toes. It helps. Over the years, she walk flat kore and more. It just takes time.
MaryBeth said…
I have two boys, 5 and 2 and both of them have had "toe walking" issues. When my oldest was 2 we noticed him toe walking often. After some tests (bloodwork and MRI to rule out cerebral palsy) we were told it was only habitual, but because it had become such a habit, he didn't have full mobility of the tendons in his feet. He wore braces for 6 months and this corrected it. Turns out, now they think his arches are actually the problem. Both of my boys have very low arches (like my husband) and the physical therapist we saw believes that when they don't have this extra support, their feet roll slightly inwards. So...bottom line, it feels more comfortable to toe walk.

Our PT recommended some stretches to help out, and I really think they have. Hopefully, It's just a habit :)
Renee said…
I am a pediatric physical therapist. I would recommend you see physical therapist who specializes in children. We see a lot of toe walkers, most of the cases are "idiopathic". We don't know why it started but the kids develop a bad habit and a tight heel cord (Achilles tendon). That is the main problem - decreased ankle range of motion and tight muscles/tendons.

Sometimes we serial cast the children and this completely breaks the habit. We put cast on the feet and lower leg for a week, then take them off, get a little better stretch, and recast them. Amazingly, it is usually not a big deal for the kids at all.

Sometimes walking in these orthotics will help the kids break the habit, http://www.dafo.com/products/jumpstart-kangaroo/.

There are several exercises and stretches you can try also. Most kids never need the surgery.

And no I am not trying to dig up business for myself or anyone else. I just love helping children and their families.

Sometimes walking in flip flops will force the child to walk on flat feet. Also, working on hopping on one foot will help to strengthen the calf muscles in a functional range of motion.
Alisha Harris said…
Someone might of already suggested this, but what about getting her some "squeaky shoes" ?? I know that they are annoying after a while but there is a brand called Mooshoo Trainers I believe and their made to teach kids to walk on their heels so that they hear the squeak... Just a thought! :)
I walked on my toes as a child and the tendons grew tight. They did everything from leg braces to using a Brillo pad on the balls of my feet (how horrible is that) and nothing worked. Finally in 3rd grade my best friend was much taller than me and she told me over and over again how much she would rather be short and she would push on my shoulders when I would walk on my toes. That stopped it.

The problem is that in those years of walking on my toes my tendons grew WAY too tight and I sprained and strained my ankles pretty much constantly. I was a dancer and had almost a constant ankle injury.

Keep encouraging her to walk flat footed and help her stretch those tendons with "ballet" exercises. :)
I teach Kindergarten and I had a student 5 years ago who always walked on his toes, in fact he was in third grade last year and was still walking on his toes. His dad is an orthopedist and isn't concerned, he said it will work itself out eventually. Just remind her heel, toe, heel, toe. Don't worry about it, your girls are beautiful!
Shannon said…
One of my friend's child walked on her toes and someone recommended wearing the squeaky shoes so that it would make the sound when she walked.
Erin said…
I used to walk on my toes all the time as a child and I never received any special medical attention for it. My parents just always reminded me to walk on my whole foot and I am now in my 30s and have no lasting issues with either my muscles or my bone structure (though sometimes my husband catches me on my toes).

I personally wouldn't make a big deal out of it.
Ceeb said…
I used to walk on my toes and run and jump on them. Even with my toes rolled under sometimes!
I outgrew it and i sometimes see my toddler doing it now.
She will likely outgrow it.
Elizabeth said…
Hi Laurie - I work at an elementary school and every once in a while you come across a little girl or boy that walks exclusively on their toes. I have been told it is a sensory issue and that they will eventually grow out of it. The one little girl that is my daughters age is now 14 and she does not walk on her toes any longer. But she did until she was in the 5th grade. I would talk to the pediatric orthopedic doctor and see what he/she has to say about it, but she might just outgrow it too. I love your blog so much !! You are an amazing Mom and your daughters look so sweet !! Blessings, Elizabeth
Madison Sanders said…
I would try braces and physical therapy before surgery. Surgery is always a last resort.

I hace a mild case of cerebral palsy and had to wear braces growing up.
Kelly P said…
Hi,

I am a Pre-K special education teacher and one of the little boys in my class is a toe walker. He wears braces 24/7 and receives physical therapy. I beleive he has a really tight heel cord that is causing this. I would definitely push for PT and braces before surgery but hopefully this will just get better with time. Your girls are beautiful!! :)

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