toe walking (updated)


New Member
Little easy child has always had pretty good coordination, though she was very late walking and talking, she has made up for lost time though.
She is now walking on her toes nearly all the time, even in shoes. She also rolls onto the arch side when she does put her whole foot down, almost like the underside of her feet are round.

I havent seen this in either of my other children and wondered if anyone else had, or had an idea why she does it.


Active Member
Well, my first thought is that this is a sign of neurological development issues.

But, having said that, let's look at some practical issues as well: do her shoes fit? Any plantar's warts on her feet? I know that there have been times when both of my kids' feet have had growth spurts and then, seemingly overnight, their shoes don't fit and they start walking funny. You'd think they'd tell me that their shoes are too small :rolleyes: ; but no ... it can sometimes take me quite a while to realize this.

Anyway, check shoe size first, then if all is well on that front, talk to your GP about it.


Active Member
Just another thought - do her feet look round? You said that she is walking as if they are ... maybe they are! If I recall correctly, it does take time for their feet to develop. Maybe hers are just taking a little longer.

The more I think about it, the more I think that you may want to bring this up with your GP. She could get some special shoes to help her walk properly.


I'd check with the pediatrician first, then take it from there if necessary.

Let us know what s/he says.


New Member
Thanks Wildflower, When she started it i got her shoes checked. Her shoes were about 5 weeks old and her trainers were a little newer. They all fit and she does the toe walking in bare feet as well.

I just had a look at her feet and they look pretty flat when you hold them up and if you put them down on tiles they seem flat enough, but her ankles do bend from side to side very easily.
When she wears her wellies she falls over all the time, same with her ankle boots.

She also hates clothes, somthing i meant to put in the first post. She will take all her clothes off when she gets in the house. She doesnt like to get dressed in the morning and would probably not wear any clothes ever if i let her.

I just wondered what people though. I wondered if it is a stage or a new talent she is proud of, but it is going on for 2 months she has been doing it for now. She also didnt start to walk till she was nearly two, 22 months.

I thought i would ask here before i go to the GP, as i had no idea if it was normal or within a normal range of behavours.


New Member
First of all, what are wellies? And trainers? Ankle boots, I think I can imagine.

How many months has she been walking? 22 months is very, very late to begin walking. Her talking started late, but is now okay?

Toe walking, if you don't have decreased range in your heelcords, is almost always from not liking the feel of things on your feet. I hate to say it, but with the combination of the late walking/talking, taking clothes off and now toe-walking, I think you have an SI kid on your hands.

Kids don't fully develop arches in their feet until they are maybe five or so, because they are made from developing the muscles in the foot. If she is double-jointed, her elbows and knees bend backward, sits with her legs like a "W", she may never have good arches. My child does not. My sister, who is a pediatric PT, says he has the worst arches of any child who does not have a diagnosis, that she has EVER seen. His joints are so loose that his knees slip out of joint and get "stuck". He screams and cries for several minutes and finally we can work it free. Just happened yesterday.

Enough about me. Tell me more about your little one. How is her temperament, sleeping, eating, etc.?


Active Member
Hmmm, perhaps she needs more supportive shoes.

As for the stripping - that could well be a phase. I know that my easy child went through that too and right around the same age. He was forever taking off his clothes and running around outside. Then he went through a phase where he didn't like to wear shoes for a while. This season it was wearing his winter coat. I think it has a lot to do with control and new found independence.

I have to say that I kinda miss the days when I'd look outside and see easy child bare naked and running free in the garden without a care in the world! It wouldn't be so cute if he were 10 ... but at 2, it was adorable.


Active Member
LOL. The British to American translation: Wellies are rain boots. Trainers are sneakers. And ankle boots are boots that come up to your ankles.

The verbs are the same, the nouns are all different!


New Member
Thanks for the link Alisha.
She started talking just before she started walking at around 21 months. She is pretty good at talking now and uses 6 word sentances pretty effectivly.
She has lately started replying "I dont know" to any direct question, though if you re-phrase it like "and after we put our socks on we put our ...." she will fill in the blank then without a problem.

She is a real watcher and is very happy to sit at the edge of things watching the other children, only when she is sure what is expected does she step in and have a go.
She is amazingly intuative and is vertually always sensative to others moods. She is also pretty advanced as far as fine motor skills go.

She has had clothes that she refused to wear completly and i have ended up giving them away. A crushed velvet dress was one thing and some cords, they are recent ones.
She still sleeps in my bed and will not go upstairs till i do (i carry her up, asleep, when i go to bed), this could be more to do with her brothers behavour than anything else though.

She is a very picky eater as well as only eating small amounts most of the time. She is pretty skiny compaired to her sibs and peer group, but does eat when hungry. She is very particular about the temp of her food as well, refusing to eat things that are too hot or cold for her. She will only eat ice cream once it has melted.

Going on the development chart she is ahead in all but her gross motor skills. She trys to throw a ball but generally it either slips from her hands before or after she wants it to. When she tries to jump she goes high up onto her toes and then one foot will lift, followed by a funny skipping motion.

She is pretty double jointed as well and often sits in that W shape for ages, something i used to do. I am also quite double jointed in fingers and toes and ankles and elbows. So we assumed her and her sisters flexibility came from me.

She will be 3 Next month so i will have a development check with her Health Visitor soon and i will bring it up then.
The Health visitor i have is very knowledgeable and experienced and i am sure she will refer me on if she isnt 100% happy with her development.

Thanks for the info, Wildflower, Alisha and Macsmom.


New Member
Ta for those translations Wildflower, i thought about trying myself, but not knowing the US equivilents i didnt know where to start.

I agree there is nothing more cute than a pot-bellied 2yr old, playing in their birthday suit. :laugh:


Former desparate mom
Toe walking is a flag. Bring it to your physicians attention as soon as possible or demand a pediatric neurologist visit or developmental specialist.

My difficult child didn't toe walk always but would run on his toes and will still occasionally go up on his toes. I knew at 14 mo. that it was a flag but I tried very hard to minimize it. It didn't matter it is still there.

It will be part of a diagnostic evaluation on your sweetie so that you have a clear picture of what's going on.
High top leather shoes are no more effective for this sort of walking than bare feet or trainers according to orthopeadic physicians(at the time 10 to 15 yrs ago)


New Member
Yep, she sounds like my difficult child. Very picky eater, but will eat when hungry enough. He also likes for his ice cream to be melted. He's had a "grown-up" flat stomach since his second birthady. He's still skinny.

She sounds very low tone (natural muscle strength) and this causes her arches to be flat and have trouble with gross motor skills because they require strength. My difficult child will often just wait for someone else to do stuff for him because it's just too much trouble to do it himself. Sounds like that could be part of the stairclimbing behavior. Although they CAN do it, it's worth it to wait for someone else to help.

He would also sit on the periphery and just watch to see what's involved in an activity before he joins in. He's pretty much grown out of that, but does get nervous before new things, such as the first soccer practice of the year, etc.

About the W-sitting, please try to stop her from doing that as much as possible, especially when sitting for a long time. What happens is that her bones are still so pliable and soft, and her thigh bones actually grow twisted. This makes her kneecaps turn in, forcing her to turn her shin bone out, which causes her arches to be even flatter. Try it with your legs. Stand up, turn your knees in, then try to point your toes forward. Your ankles roll in. My sister showed me. My son, thankfully, wasn't prone to W-sitting, but his thigh bones still turn in, causing undo stress on all of his joints and they can't handle it. It's important that all the bones line up as close to normal as possible, when you don't have the normal joint strength. Don't mean to scare you, but it's traumatic watching my son with his knee locked up, screaming in pain. He, of course, is the only child I know of that has joints THAT loose.


New Member
Thanks, Macsmom, I will discourage the W sitting as much as possible from now onwards.
She will wait patiently for ages, it seems, for me to help her do things like climb stairs.
difficult child boy and Girl were always on the move, forcing things and never waiting to be shown how to do things at all. So little PCs patience was a breath of fresh air.

She isnt nearly as strong as her peers or even her sibs, at that age. She is part of a group of 4 girls, all born over a 2 month period, who have older sibs in the school my difficult children go to. She goes to pre-school with the three girls and somtimes we meet socially and it is becoming very clear she is different to them.

When i pick up one of her friends they seem like tone weights by comparison, even though she is as tall as they are in most cases. She has a pretty flat tummy now as well, but her arms and legs are the most striking difference. Her arms and legs are very thin compaired to her friends. She will aslo ask to be carried much quicker than them and give up on active play long before they do (she usually doesnt start till a good 3 or 4 minutes after them either).

She is the only one who has to have a nap each afternoon still as well. She was keen to learn to climb stairs but, once mastered, she now asks to be carried all the time.

She is on a parr, if not ahead, in speach skills though. She is also about average on fine motor skills as well, but again will play for so long then return to sitting and watching.

I dont know if you have an equivilent in the states, but i take her to "Tumble tots" twice a week. She loves it and will have a go at all the activities but she rarely joins in for more than half the session, prefering to sit and after about 30 minutes.

I have been watching her and wondering for quite a while now. I have 2 difficult children already though and the thought of her having something as well has just been to much to contemplate. Still i will make an appointment with our GP and discuss this with him this week if i can.

Fran, you are right, ignoring or pretending not to notice the signs is a bad idea. Early detection and care is the best option.


New Member

She sounds like a real sweetheart. My son does not wait patiently, he would persist and badger for help, then complain about the quality of help. :rolleyes:

She sounds mild, and the tumble tots is very good for her. Keeping her active and getting enough food in her is important. My son has taken care of the active part by himself, but I still struggle with the food. Because of his innate low tone, he has occasionally totally worn himself out, breaking into a cold sweat and almost passing out. At that point he needs sugar.

I know it must be stressful to think of having a third difficult child, but if her disposition is sweet, then her problems will seem like nothing. Both of my boys are really difficult child's, but I call easy child a easy child because he is so sweet and rewarding to parent.

Have you heard of "brushing"? This is an SI treatment and may be useful for easy child. It decreases hypersensitivity.

Just curious. How is she about being on things that spin? Love it or hate it?


I'd ask for a referral to a pediatric occupational therapist to evaluate of fine and gross motor skill problems as well as Sensory Integration Disorder (SID).

I wasn't surprised by any of our son's diagnoses except gross motor skill delays. I'd never have thought for a second it was a problem, but it was. Some of the other terms you'll see used in conjunction with these type problems are Coordination Development Disorder and Apraxia (motor).

These disorders involve motor planning (and many other things). Children sometimes won't participate in activities or are defined as "lazy" when older because it's such an effort to use motor skills -- very tiring.

Hope it turns out to be nothing, but if there are problems, there's therapy other than medication that's often very helpful.

Let us know what you find out.


Active Member
Don't want to sound like an alarmist....I work for an ortho. We had a sweet little one come in with the exact same problem. She did not reach the milestones with walking or talking, but then was fine after that. The ortho wanted her evaluated for CP. Indeed that was the diagnosis, albeit very mild. It could also be the ligament in the arch is too short and is painful for her to walk. With PT, it can be stretched, but sometimes requires surgery. The toe walking is definitely a flag. Have an orthopedic evaluation.

My friends son was perpetually naked. They own a farm and everytime I have been there, he was running around completely naked. He grew out of it around 4. I think it was just a phase. There is no diagnosis there, just a "free" kid.


Well-Known Member
Huh, my difficult child toe walked when small and still can do it. We always joked she should be a ballerina - but has NO coordination for that. She also has turned in knees - the insides of her feet is what she walks on.

What is it that a parent should be looking for? What kind of diagnosis for the toe walking?


New Member
Our ds has always been a toe walker from day one. He walked pretty early and still walks and runs on his toes. Last summer he was diagnosis with SI and since he's been in treatment he's getting better, but still does it occassionally. I think he has to concentrate more to Not do it becaue it's so natural for him to walk that way now.

He also hates clothes. Until recently, we found a company that uses non chemically treated organic cottons and flat seams on the inside. The clothes are so soft and comfy!! He loves his clothes now. I couldn't get him out of his new P.J.s yesterday! /importthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif


New Member
Magnat04, OOOOOOOOhhhhhhh! What company is it that has the soft clothes? Can you mail order?

Busywend, Sensory Integration Disorder can cause toewalking because of the uncomfortable sensation. Being uncoordinated often comes along with that.....You should look into getting some really good arch supports for her, and not the ones from the store. Those are so weak, they're for people who don't really need them. I have custom made orthotics that I won't go without. Keeps my back from hurting. If your base (your foot) is not in alignment, then everything is off-kilter. You wouldn't build a building with bricks that weren't aligned properly, because it wouldn't hold up right. It would be off balance and be weaker. Same with people. A PT or an orthopaedic doctor could help you.


New Member
Macsmom: I wasn't sure if we could post the name or not but here goes Hanna Andersson. They have a web site and catalog. They are very helpful and can answer any questions you might have about their clothing. Oh one more thing: Ds refuses to wear clothing that snaps and zippers for the most part. We've have negotiated to him only having to wear them on Sundays for Church. Anyway, these clothes are all pull ons and/or draw strings! Very easy for ds to manage and very comfy for him too.

Hope it was ok to post all that!