Toe walking occurs for a number of reasons. There are multiple options available for correction, including braces for toe walking. However, if you’re looking for how to stop toe walking completely, therapies can be helpful in easing the process and creating comfortable habits. If your child complains about pain in toes, or is diagnosed with autism and is a toe walker, it’s time to learn more about how toe walking is treated.
Physical Therapy and Your Child
You may want to consider physical therapy to assist your child in gross motor skills. Physical therapy can address the various reasons behind toe walking. When your child complains of pain in their toes, or is wearing braces for support, physical therapy can also strengthen muscles and improve mobility. It is often used to help stretch your child’s legs and foot muscles to make it easier to walk correctly.
Occupational Therapy and Toe Walking
Occupational therapy can address pain in the toes and other issues that come with toe walking. When your child is a toe walker, their heel doesn’t touch the ground when they walk. If your child is hypersensitive to particular textures, they may not want to put their feet fully down on textured surfaces. An occupational therapist will work with your child to develop better gait mechanics and improve their toe walking.
The Long Term Effects of Toe Walking
If your child is toe walking for an extended length of time, there will be long term effects. These may be difficult to correct as time goes on. Extended toe walking can decrease your child’s mobility and core strength, cause a wide range of motion problems, and make it difficult for your child to use stairs or squat. Poor balance is common in children who toe walk, as well as pain in the calves and ankles. It is important to work with a qualified therapist to address toe walking and change this behavior over time.
Why Children Walk on Toes
Toe walking is described in two different ways, idiopathic and non-idiopathic. These words simply establish the reason why a child is walking on their toes, if a reason can be identified. Idiopathic means without a reason, while non-idiopathic describes toe walking that is due to a medical reason such as autism, cerebral palsy, discrepancies in leg length, muscular dystrophy or a coordination disorder. If your child is a toe walker and also diagnosed with autism, your child’s therapist will work to identify strategies that will help your child’s gait improve. The reason behind toe walking is not always possible to identify.
When your child works with Infinite Therapy treatment providers to address toe walking, they will:
- Avoid the leg and foot pain associated with long term toe walking.
- Have better mobility and less trouble using stairs.
- Improve overall function and balance.
- Have a decreased risk of falling.
Toe walking has long-term negative effects on the body, but can be treated when you work with the right therapist.
If your child has autism and you are learning how to stop toe walking, it’s time to contact Infinite Therapy Solutions to see how we can help. We provide therapy in your home for children who need treatment but are resistant to getting treatment in an office setting. Call us in Bayonne today at 201-455-3144 or in our West Orange Clinic at 973-939-6280 to learn how we can help!