Toe Walking Tips

Treatment Techniques for Toe Walking

 

Calf Stretching: Hold all stretches for as long as possible and keep them gentle.  A 30-second gentle stretch is much better than a 10-second intense one.  Multiple stretches per session, as well as multiple sessions per day will lead to optimal muscle lengthening.  You may need to address hamstring tightness as well, with traditional stretches.

 

            1-caregiver stretch- With child long sitting or laying on back, grasp heel with knees straight and use your forearm to push ankle toward head.  You may also use your hand to push the foot, but make sure you have full contact with the bottom of the foot.

 

            2-self stretching- A) stair stretch- standing on a step, hang one heel off the step and bend the other leg so that all the weight is on the straight leg, pushing the heel off the step and forcing the foot upward.

                                        B) runners stretch- Leaning forward with hands on a wall, keep one leg forward with knee bent and force the other knee straight behind you, trying to keep the heel flat on the ground.

                                        C) incline board stretch- Stand on a wedge block with knee straight to force heel down and toes up.           

 

Activities:

1-      Backward walking- use large steps and get good toe-heel pattern

2-      Heel walking- stay on heels and don’t let toes touch the floor

3-      Heel-toe walking- exaggerate perfect walking

4-      Walking up an incline- keep feet flat on surface

5-      Scooter board in sitting- use feet to pull forward, remind to dig heels into floor for traction

6-      Duck walking- often very difficult for toe walkers

7-      Be an annoyance- constantly remind the child to walk flat

 

Equipment:

1-      high-topped sneakers- often the extra height makes toe walking less comfortable/more difficult

2-      hard-soled shoes/sneakers/boots- also make toe walking difficult, shoes can be tested for proper support by pushing inward on the shoe from the front and back to see where the shoe bends.  Bending at the toe box/ball of your foot is good.  Bending at the arch denotes improper support.

3-      squeaking soccer trainers- elastic toys that go on a soccer player’s toes to teach proper kicking surface can be put on a toe walker’s heel to squeak when walking with heel down.

4-      night splints- can be worn during sleep to give continuous passive stretch

5-      orthotics- ultimately, professional bracing may be necessary.  Low SMOs prevent flat foot/low arch and push into the Achilles tendon with toe walking.  Full AFOs up to the knee force proper ankle positioning, but don’t allow any push off.