A general way of walking in which a child tries to walk on balls of his or her feet and the heels do not touch the floor is called as toe walking. It is a walking pattern which is common in children who are learning to walk.Idiopathic toe walking is diagnosed in the patients when the underlying reason for the condition is not recognized.
Most of the children may live this phase for a specified time period but then outgrow it with time.But some kids who do not outgrow from this phase after their toddler years may continue doing it out of habit.It is not considered to be a cause of concern if the child is growing and developing in a normal manner. There are few diseases such as; muscles’ dystrophy, cerebral palsy, and autism spectrumwhich may result in adoption of toe walking.
Idiopathic Toe Walking Treatment
Different treatments options are suggested for this abnormality including; surgical and non-surgical. Children between the ages of 2-5 years are highly recommended for the non-surgical methods because they can be easily encouraged for the flat-footed walk. Frequent reminders to children to walk flat-footed can be helpful.
There are some other treatments including:
- Muscles and tendons stretching with the help of special leg casts in case of identified tightening. To increase the flexibility new casts should be used numerous times.
- Muscle and tendons in the ankles can be stretched with the help of adoption of Ankle-foot orthosis (AFO).
- In case over-activity and tightening of the leg muscles caused by the toe walking disorder can be helped by the administration of the botox injections.
- If toe walking is observed in a child even after the age of five and stay unable to walk flat-footed then the surgery is highly recommended.
Idiopathic Toe Walking Exercises
For children under 6 years of age, following stretching and strengthening exercises can be recommended:
- Calf stretch exercises repeated daily
- Achilles tendon stretch exercise
- Sit to stand exercise
Following are the exercises suitable for children ages six years and up:
- Calf Stretch
- Other exercises include:
- Marching on the spot. Have your child bring their knees up high and then land with a flat foot.
- Walking uphill.
- Walking on uneven surfaces like in a playground or sand.
- Walking only on the heels.
Squats may also help in this condition which involves the feet lying flat on the ground with hip width apart and keeping chest straight and upright and then slowly let the child bend their knees forward to lower and lift their body all the way to and up ground, respectively.
Idiopathic Toe Walking Physical Therapy
Some physical therapies are recommended by the professionals for the management of this condition, including;
Gastrocnemius (Ankle dorsiflexion/plantar flexion): With the child lying on back or seated, by holding the child’s foot in hand, light pressure is applied. Foot is stretched up towards child’s head. If any kind of resistance is felt during practice then hold for 10-15 seconds, shift to the other feet and repeat the procedure.
Hamstring (Knee flexion/augmentation): With the kid lying on back, with inverse knee level on floor, lift youngster’s leg with knee straight until you feel opposition. Hold for 10-15 seconds. Reuse a similar method with other leg.
Have youngster stand upheld/unsupported without shoes on powerful surface. The dyna-plate, slant wedge, and wobble board can be utilized for that.
Have kid stroll on unique surface without shoes. The wedge incline, froth balance shaft, and material venturing stones can be utilized for this reason.
Creature strolls are useful to support dynamic scope of movement. A few models are Bear Walk (with hands and feet on floor without knees reaching surface).
Characteristic Plantar Muscles: you can focus on these little muscles by getting objects with toes or arranging dynamic surfaces (fabricate a pad scaffold or utilize material venturing stones).
Idiopathic Toe Walking Shoes
There are various kinds of shoes which can enable the youngster to recuperate from toe strolling and diminish the craving to stroll on their toes. The rundown is given underneath:
- Flat shoes: Always utilize the level shoes for the kid and abstain from placing your youngster in wedge shoes or shoes with any kind of impact point as these sorts of shoes place the foot in a position where the lower leg muscles are in an abbreviated position. This can bring about them getting more tightly and encourage more toe strolling.
- Squeaky shoes: There are a few brands that structure shoes with squeakers in the heels. Each time your kid strolls down on their heels, they will hear the squeak and afterward it can urge them to stroll on heels. These shoes can be a great deal of good times for kids.
- Shoes with high backs: The shoes with the higher sponsorship can be utilized so if a youngster is wearing these shoes and is strolling on their toes, the shoe back will press facing the Achilles ligament, which will be awkward for the kid. Thusly these shoes help encourage strolling on level feet.
- Light up shoes: Shoes that light up regularly have the lights towards the back by the heel. On the off chance that a kid properly strolls with feet level on the ground, the lights will turn on.