Some children may walk on their toes nearly 100% for no apparent reason. This is known as idiopathic (the reason for it is unknown) toe walking.
Idiopathic toe walking may result in muscle shortening in the calf muscles. In turn, it will continue to promote toe walking. Many cases of toe walking require intervention from a professional; however there are still some things at home that you can do in order to help decrease the frequency of toe walking. One such thing is the type of shoe you purchase for your child.
Below is a list of shoes that can help reduce your child’s desire to walk on his or her toes:
- Flat shoes: Avoid putting your child in wedge shoes or shoes with any sort of heel. These types of shoes place the foot in a position where the calf muscles are in a shortened position, which can result in them becoming tighter and facilitate more toe walking.
- Squeaky shoes: There are some footwear brands that design shoes with squeakers in the heels. Every time your child walks down on their heels, they will hear the squeak. These shoes can be a lot of fun for kids (although they may not be as much fun for parents!).
- Shoes with high backs: There are some gym shoes that are designed to have a higher backing compared to other shoes. If a child is wearing these shoes and is walking on his or her toes, the shoe back will press up against the Achilles tendon, which can be uncomfortable for the child. Since these shoes make it uncomfortable for a child to toe walk, these shoes help facilitate walking on flat feet.
- Light up shoes: Shoes that light up often have the lights towards the back of the shoe by the heel. If a child appropriately walks with feet flat on the ground, the lights will light up more than if the child walks up on toes.
While all of these options can be helpful in discouraging toe walking, your child may continue to walk on his or her toes. If your child toe walks the majority of the time and is over 2 years old, it would be beneficial to speak with your pediatrician and physical therapist to determine if further intervention is needed.