Toe Walking

Jessica - posted on 09/09/2009 ( 13 moms have responded )

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HI, Im pretty new around here and just had a question. My autistic son who is 7, has been toe walking since he started to walk. Ive read on site on the internet that toe walking needs to be corrected because it can cause tightening of the achillies tendon (the one on the back of the ankle) I feel like a broken record when I have to keep saying Isaac, walk on your feet, or I am constantly putting pressure on the top of his shoulders to make him walk on his flat feet. I asked him one day why he walks on his toes, and he told me that it hurts on his flat feet. I dont know if I should talk to his doctor about it or not. Im sure she is so tired of me calling and bringing him in for things. But I dont want it to hurt him in the long run because Ive read that eventually they have to get the tendon cut and put in casts so that they can walk normally. It causes him to be a total clutz. Hes wobbly, trips easily, and falls all the time. Can someone please help?

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Chana G - posted on 10/18/2009

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get him a weighted vest or use arm weights for his feet this will help. It helped my son go from being on his toes most of the time to almost not happening at all. I can't tell him to get off his toes because he says he isn't on his toes he is on his feet.... typical reaction from a boy who takes things litterally.

Amy - posted on 10/15/2009

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i have two toe walkers. don't worry about your doctor being put out by your calls.it's his job.your child's well being is what you should worry about. both of my children are wearing orthotics called AFO's they are a plastic piece that goes over their feet ,ankles,and lower calves.they don't weigh much but they keep the foot in a proper position to lengthen the tendons and restrict the pointing of the toes.and at night you can adjust it to give even more length to the tendons.so eventually they will not need the AFO any more and the tendons will be corrected without surgery.

Kellie - posted on 09/20/2009

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Oh my.....my son walked on his toes, and eventally stopped, but didn't know until recently that is usually one of the first signs of Autism....Thought I was the only one that delt with this...he is now 10 and now only does it if he is barefooted, but will catch himself and stop.....Good Luck and God Bless!!!

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Jennifer - posted on 10/18/2009

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I have TWO toe walkers!! I was delaying on putting my son (my oldest) in any kind of braces because I didnt know anything about them at the time. When my daughter was born and then she started walking we noticed her to walking on her toes. SOOO...we got her to the doctor and put her in Physical Therapy and ordered her this special braces that help her walk on her feet flat. It has helped her A LOT since then...We recently had to go get her fitted again because she got to big for her shoes!! So I recommend you talking to your doctor about getting him into therapy and putting some braces on him..just a thought :]

Saxon - posted on 10/18/2009

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Many children with ASD walk on their toes. this can be attributed in many cases as a responce to the sensitivity of their feet.

I have 2 Autistic children. One of them will not walk on grass... she'll scream if made to, she's the tip toe girl around here... she is very sensitive as to what touches her feet. As she has gotten older she has realised that shoes/socks help her, although when she is bare foot she still walks predominantly tip toed.

Our other Autistic child is quite the opposite... he will run around bare foot.. no footware at all... and no tip toeing either...

By all means talk to your doctor about the tiptoeing... it is best to keep an eye on their developement, but you may also want to self investigate the circumstances surrounding the behaviour... you may find that your little one is just trying to avoid overstimulating some very sensitive nerves on their feet.

Best of luck.

Amy - posted on 10/15/2009

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actually you want a physical therapist not an occupational therapist .OT's deal with fine motor skills such as writing or tying shoes,etc. a physical therapist deals with gross motor skills like walking,sitting,climbing stairs,riding a bike,etc.my kids get both types of therapy.

Letitia - posted on 10/15/2009

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omg my daughter hannah is the same she is 4, she also walks like she has injured her feet but i have noticed lumps on the side of her feet that have to be surgically removed by shaving the bone back.

i am not sure why they do this unless it is a compulsive behaviour similar to smearing poo and textures

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this is a toughy cause you will get lots of different opinions. My physio and paed told me that Shanes toe walking was not causing him a problem and just have a physio check him yearly. Until this year there were no probs but now has neurological tightness in the calf muscle. So has excercises. I think each case is different some toe walkers seem to cope fine others need intervention so. I suggest perhaps going to physiotherapist or asking your dr. Our physio and ot have been invaluable.

Gayle - posted on 10/12/2009

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Hi there!

I have a 7YO boy too. He is also a toe-walker. (He also has Asperger's) We had to see an orthopediest ( I am lucky to live close to Johns Hopkins). B/c of his toe walking his ankles were VERY tight. We started by "casting" both legs. They put him in a series of casts that slowly straightened his ankles out. They changes the casts every week. Lasted for about 6 weeks total. He responded really well to that - for about 3 months. Then, he started toe walking again and tightened up. (Now, I have heard that this alone CAN cure the problem - it just didn't for us). Then we opted for surgery. The went in and "lengthened" (read: cut) his achilles tendons. He was then in casts for 4 more weeks. This REALLY seemed to work (for about 4 months. Now, when he walks, he walks "up". But, when he stands, he is completely flat. SO, for us, I count this as a success. We are 8 months post surgery. I do't really know what else to do b/c this is clearly a neurological issue. I know mine CAN'T help it. It isn't something he chooses to do, so no matter how many times I tell him to walk flat, it is impossible for him. We did OT for a while, it didn't help. I would def. recomend seeing an orthopedist (sp?) - a regular pedi. can't really help with the problem. GOOD LUCK!!!

Bethany - posted on 10/11/2009

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my son used to, and then his ocupational therapist would tape his feet so that he couldnt walk on his toes. i always had to tell him to walk flat footed

Alicia - posted on 09/21/2009

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It's possible he has sensory issues causing the pain. Has he ever had occupational therapy? It might help to have him evaluated by an OT. They can be extremely helpful with this sort of challenge. My son doesn't toe walk often but years ago I nannied for a little boy who did. He had some pretty significant tactile defensiveness that caused the toe walking. OT really helped him. I do know from talking to his OT that you're right about it possibly causing long term damage. I had a series of stretches I used to have to do with him because of this. Good luck.

Dawn - posted on 09/10/2009

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Believe this or not but my doc told me that toe walking is a sign of autism. My oldest son now 12 used to walk on his toes, eat his clothes, and always stuck on one subject. Ex: yugioh cards.. This started when he was 4. Now I'm not saying he has aspergers but it is worth looking into. He is on medication but he has done so much better.

Teresa - posted on 09/10/2009

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are you sure you dont have my son. I am a broken record. Michael get off your tip toes. I know it sounds bad but i have told him I would put him in a skirt. He thinks all girl things have cuties. So sometimes it works, but I always have to tell him. Talk to the Dr about it if he say that it hurts, maybe the Dr has something that would help. Maybe try to get ahold of a specilist that deals with this all the time.

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