Toe-walking

12:0AM, Jun 21st 2012

Michael Copeman answers a query about this toddler habit

Photo: Thinkstock
Q. My two-year-old son walks on his toes almost all the time. He trips a lot because of the limited balance and can't walk very fast. He does run on his heels and wearing shoes doesn't seem to change the situation. Why does he do it, is it dangerous and how do we go about stopping it?

A. Many young children, and especially boys, go through a phase of toe-walking - and we don't know why. It is more common in children who show some autistic traits but most children who toe-walk do not have this problem.

However, toe-walking in young children can be a concern, as it may indicate that the calf muscles are too tight - which may ge a sign of nerve damage, for example, as occurs in children with cerebral palsy. So, it is important to have your child's nerves, muscles and development reviewed by your GP.

If there is an underlying problem with the nerves and muscles, this can often be treated nowadays - for example, by careful use of botulinum toxin injections into the legs, to even up the balance of muscle tone, and allow your child to walk with feel flat on the floor.

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