Is Walking on Toes Normal?


Young kids sometimes walk around on the balls of their feet. Podiatrists and other doctors call this “toe walking.” If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it’s normal, here are some details about this phenomenon from Dr. Samantha Boyd, Dr. Hal Ornstein, Dr. Dan Phan, and Dr. Joseph Saka of Affiliated Foot & Ankle Center in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

Why do children sometimes walk on their toes?

There are a number of reasons. A child might

  • Have a muscle imbalance. Muscles work in pairs, so a tight muscle somewhere in the lower leg can cause a weakness in the opposite muscle.

  • Have a short Achilles tendon. The Achilles connects the back of the heel to the mid-calf. If it’s too short, a child will be unable to lower their heel to the ground.

  • Be showing signs of an underlying disease that affects muscle development such as muscular dystrophy or cerebral palsy. Toe walking has also been linked to autism spectrum disorders.

  • Be doing it out of habit.

Should you have it checked out?

A lot of beginning walkers experiment by tip-toeing around. It’s a normal occurrence of toddlerhood.

If a child seems to be growing and developing normally in other ways, it’s probably nothing to worry about. But if he walks on his toes a majority of the time or continues beyond the age of 2, make an appointment with us to have his lower limbs checked out.

A podiatrist can help with toe walking

Our board-certified podiatrists are happy to examine your child’s feet to look for any physical causes of toe walking. We even have a physical therapist on staff, Valerie Gregory, MSPT, CKTP. She can help restore balance to muscles with exercises and orthotic devices that help kids learn to walk on their whole foot.

Sustained toe walking can cause a child pain, arthritis, joint deformities, and poor balance. To see if your child’s toe walking is a problem, call us at (732) 905-1110 for an appointment at one of our offices in the towns of Howell and Jackson.