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Toe Walker

Sarah Kate is six years old and she is still walking on her toes.  She is an ideopathic toe walker.  (No cause for it.)
We are considering doing serial casts to help stretch her heel cord.  Has anyone ever had experience with this?????
What have you found to be the most helpful with toe walking?


A New Chapter said…
My cousin did this for a while but eventually just out grew it. He still walks like he has a pep in his step but not nearly as bad as it was.
Brittney said…
There is a cousin on my husband's side who had to have braces. She wore them for a LONG time, but walks much better now. Their main issue in persuing correction was if she wanted to play sports later in life, she might have been hindered by damage done as a child. I don't know much about it, but I know her family has been pleased with her progress.
Elizabeth Cheek said…
Don't over stress. I have a 10 year old toe walker. STRETCH and make sure no underlying anxiety in child.
My 5 year started physical therapy for toe walking. It is more of a habit, but his muscles and tendons were very tight. He now wears AFO braces and it helps with braking the habit. He was discharged from PT after 6 months, but stills wears the braces and we still do the exercises they taught us in PT. Just don't let it go to far, get it check out. The longer they do it the more damage it can do. Get a PT evaluation to measure how far she can stretch her foot and hamstrings. My son doesn't mind wearing his braces. He wears them most of the day and then has a break before bed. He has a strap we put on them at night so he can't point his toes while sleeping. It is weird because I just did a blog post on his braces. Good luck.
Deena said…
If you say, "put your heels down." Can she? It could be just a habit...especially if she is still taking ballet.
Lindsey said…
Laurie, I've read you blog on and off for a year or two but never commented. I'm a pediatric physical therapist at Arkansas Children's Hospital. We do a lot of serial casting for toe walkers with good improvement however we also do a lot of therapy because toe walking greatly affects your gait (the mechanisms of walking) along with muscle length & flexibility and posture. I would strongly suggest getting her evaluated by a PT (your Pediatrician can refer you). With therapy, casting/bracing as necessary she shouldn't have any problems down the road. Hope this helps!

Dad said…

I HIGHLY recommend PT/OT before casting. We also used a sports chiropractor who would massage her calves and heels and do some STEM & heat therapy. My opinion is save the casting as your last resort.
kpausch said…
I had walking casts for a month when I was five years old (so... ages ago!). I mostly remember wearing Minnie Mouse slippers I loved every day to school over my casts. They worked wonders in conjunction with physical therapy (which started before I had casts). I've had no issues with my feet since.
Carrie said…
I am a special ed teacher and I 100% agree with Lindsay. Of course if you have been in PT then follow what they are saying. I have had several students go through seriel casting, all of these students had other conditions. The casting worked for a few and not for others. It might bother her enough though that it would help her remember to do the stretching exercise and behavioral changes to correct it.
thejavamama said…
My Mom used to repeat to me "heel toe...heel toe" over and over and it helped to repeat it in my head. Also, as she gets older she'll be around other kids and try to mimic them as well. That's what my Doctor told me :) Much love, Becky
Unknown said…
My son has the same problem and he is 8 years old. About a month ago I took him to a foot doctor our pediatrician recommended. They told us to do stretches 3 times a day. It is helping! We go back in 2 more months for a checkup. They said we could consider physical therapy if we want to be more aggressive or he might need the casts as a last resort.
Laurie said…
From one Laurie to another...:)
I am a pediatric OT in Georgia, and I highly recommend a PT eval before you seek casting. Many times, heel cord/toe walking issues can be resolved with stretching and "retraining" her gait pattern with PT. PT is FUN, she would never know it is therapy...just like Harper S. loves her SLP and audiologist :) It is definitely better to have the PT evaluation done do not want her to have long term effects to her spine, hips, etc. or problems that affect any future sports/dancing activities. It sounds like a big deal, but I promise it's not. And I promise that she would LOVE it...and so would you :) A couple of PT appointments a week is a lot less invasive than serial casting.
Unknown said…
I toe-walked until about age seven, for me at least it was all mental -- I wanted to look like a Barbie doll when I walked. My mom says I just woke up one day and stopped doing it. It helped me in dance when I got older -- I never realized it was a condition that needed corrected or treatment or anything (and I don't think my mom did either).
Brandi said…
My daughter has toe walked all her life and we were told she would outgrow it. She never did. When she was 10 we saw a pediatric orthapedist who said her achilles tendons were too short. By that point no amount of stretching would correct it. A few months later we had both of her achilles tendons lengthened. She had walking casts on both legs for 6 weeks, then walking boots for 8 weeks after that. I wish we had done it sooner, she is a different child now. No more toe walking, no more tripping and falling, she can wear flip flops now, and she is so much more confident.
Janet said…
My daughter is 5 1/2 and currently in serial casting at Children's Hospital of Ala. She toe walked, but also had problems with balance, and foot and leg pain. The tendon had become too short on one side, and muscles too tight on the other. The casts are changed each week. She has tolerated them well, and she has improved after 2 weeks. She will wear braces for a period of time after the casting, to prevent her from the habit of toe walking again.
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