4 year old walking on tip toes

Jessica - posted on 03/19/2010 ( 17 moms have responded )

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I am a stay-at-home mom and I also take care of my neice and nephew 5 days a week.
My neice just turned 4 and ever since she could walk she has walked on her tippy toes. She will not walk on her whole foot - though she can do it if asked, but only briefly. She has a hard time with her balance, which I'm sure is because she's always on her toes. I was wondering if anyone else knows a kid who does this and if she will grow out of it or what. Her parents are not concerned, but also do not really notice much. Example - the first 2 fingers on each hand have been crooked since birth, but mom and dad just noticed that a few months ago and just assumed she got them slammed in a door or something!!!!!!!!!

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Mags - posted on 02/16/2013

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i would say have chat with her doctor & would be an option also to get her checked with occupational therapist as some of the other posters said that can be signs of other things like autism etc, there is a condition that isn't very well studied or known well yet which is SPD which stands for sensory proccessing disorder, where the person feels & experiences situations & information differently than other's & also alot of the muscle tone & strength can be a part of SPD our son has just been diagnosed with it last year, other symptoms & signs are always seeking movement, noise making, spinning, running jumping, clothing that can irrate eg tags buttons seams, fidgetting tasting objects & people smelling objects & people, dislike for certain taste's textures to food, dislike for textures to things like sand dirt, we are learning more & more about this condition so i hope ive explained in a way that is easy to understand, hope you all find out soon while this is happening with your niece .

Suni - posted on 02/04/2013

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I walked on my toes my whole life & it turns out it is hereditary. Apparently the achilies (sp?) tendon is shorter than average and it is more comfortable to walk on the toes. I grew out of it for the most part but sometimes when I'm tired I will catch myself. My niece does it too!

Rhiannon - posted on 02/02/2013

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My younger sister, whom is eighteen has been a toe walker since she began to walk. Yes, she can walk on her heels, but is in the habit of not doing so. She's never had any ankle or muscle/tendon problems, and is perfectly flexible. She's always been naturally flexible, has amazing calfs, and great balance. (She's a former gymnast, and now a cheerleader, so I can't say how much of that is training or normal for her. However, she's always been light on her feet, and people constantly ask if she's a dancer or a runner.) I've actually asked my sister about her ability to balance on her toes, and she's told me that it's actually a lot more stable for her. Unless your niece begins to show signs of autism/other disalbilies, or begins to complain of chronic leg or back pain, I wouldn't worry about it. She's young and with encouragement will probably grow out of it. (On the plus side, if she ever takes ballet, she'll do fantastic. One of the hardest lessons to learn is reprogramming your brain as a dancer to walk on your toes or on point). Good luck!

Jessica - posted on 03/25/2010

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I've also heard it can be a sign of autism and that is one of my concerns. I just hope that her parents notice it one day or that the doctor or a teacher says something because they don't listen to me!

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Donna - posted on 02/18/2013

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I walk on my toes not all the time but alot of the time I get sore hips every now and then and my calf muscles are rock solid I am 29 this year and have noticed my 3 year old does the same thing but she can walk flat footed as well. I guess the only thing to do is get it checked out by a professional if you are worried. P.S I dont have cerebal palsy or autism or anything else I just do it automatically. and my fingers are straight not crooked although i can bend my thumb right back lol. I also knew of this girl who had surgery to correct it and she still walks on her tippy toes

Barbara - posted on 02/10/2013

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My son does the same thing. I didn't notice he was walking that way ALL the time and now he has a very hard time putting his foot flat on the floor. It hurts and it is now much more comfortable to walk on his tip toes. She will likely not just "grow out of it". She needs to be encouraged to use her whole foot. What happens is the Achilles tendon shortens and it becomes painful to use the whole foot.

Jocelin - posted on 05/21/2012

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my son is almost 4and hes been walking on his tip toes since he started walking .he has an appointmentin a few days at the scotttish rite hospital in dallas texas and im nervous as heck ive been reading on this and they say it can be neuroligical problemblems or just a habbit or cer palsy

Kathy - posted on 05/18/2010

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I have a 5yr old tip toe walker. I have done a lot of research on the subject. And there are different causes for this. For my daughter, we have decided that the cause is hereditary. My husband did this as a child as well, on into middle school/high school. He was able to play sports, and do everything everyone else did as well. And for my daughter, it doesn't slow her down at all. She is very active, and can run and play sports, and it doesn't slow her down at all.
I have talked with our pediatrician, as well as other parents of toe-walkers. My doctor said if I wanted to pursue physical therapy, casts, etc that we could. But he said, since she is functioning normally, that he doesn't suggest it. And other parents of toe-walkers that I know have been through months of physical therapy, casts on the feet, to force them to walk on their heels, but in the end, they have all gone back to toe walking. So for my daughter's situation, i have chosen to simply do exercises with her at home to try to stretch her muscles, and just see how it goes...I hate the idea of putting her through all that for nothing. So we're going to wait and see.
This being said, i mentioned that there are other causes...so if you think that it could be the symptom of something more serious, i suggest the parents look for further advice from a doctor.

Carol - posted on 05/10/2010

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My son is 9 and he still walks on his toes too. I guess my mom did/does too. We became concerned because in the last couple of years my mom has had some serious walking issues. Her knee is shot. Perhaps the arthritis would have been there anyway but walking on her toes did damage to her ligaments and caused pain just in itself. We did bring my son to a specialist and she suggested special shoes that would force him to walk on his heels and creating a "code" word to let him know to go back on his heels so you don't embarass him in front of his friends. My son thought that was ridiculous so our code word is "heels."2 years later he still walks on his toes if we don't catch him. We've just switched doctors so we'll readdress the issue this year.
I've also heard of the autism link and we're just looking into that as well for other reasons.

Yolanda - posted on 05/10/2010

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OMG!!! I too have a 4yr old whom has walked on his tippy toes since he was 10mths. My husband took him to see a Dr. when he was 2yrs old and he said that he would grow out of it, and to just bring him back in a year or so, well he's 4yrs old now, and hes about to be 5yrs old in November, we have yet to take him back to the Dr. but after reading this and finding out that it could be some kind of cerebal palsey, I will be making him an appt as soon as I finish typing this.

Chrissy - posted on 05/08/2010

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I have a friend whos son is 4 and still walks on his tiptoes. His doctor said he has cerabal palsey. I dont think it is severe, he seems to be on par with his learning and development. He was in physical therapy to try to teach him to walk normally but i dont think it worked because he still walks on his tiptoes.

Jenifer - posted on 05/04/2010

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She needs to see a doctor right away.My sister did the same thing when she was a child. It was never addressed until she was an adult. By then it was to late. Walking on her toes resulted in all of her body weight being put on her calf muscles.By the time she was a teenager her calf muscles were rock solid.When she was in her 20's she had chronic back and leg pain, bad enough that she needed narcotics and to wear a leg and back brace. By the time she was 30,she had had multiple back surgeries including the insertion of a metal rod and a cadaver bone.Now in her mid 30's she is told that she will most likely be in a wheelchair in the few years. Now she uses a cane. Doctor after doctor told her this could have been prevented if our parents had sought help when she was a child. They thought she would just grow out of it. Her life has been ruined. She can't have children or ride a bike or even take a walk.Really encourage them to have it checked out,and have it checked out in a few years if it does not go away by another doctor. Walking this way takes a big toll on the body,the pressure just degrades the muscles and bones. When runners run they are supposed to hit the ground with the heel first then the front of the foot to keep the calf from absorbing all the impact. Now imagine if the calf did nothing but absorb impact.By the time real problems show the damage has been done. It's easier for a yr old to wear a back brace than a 24yr old who has a job friends (boyfriend maybe). All because she walked on her tip toes.I think the red flag maybe glowing.

Shannon - posted on 03/24/2010

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My son is 9 and if he doesn't have shoes on he walks on his tip toes. I have tried telling him, reminding him and he just does it so naturally. I don't know that there is a solution.

Elizabeth - posted on 03/24/2010

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I have heard that is can be a sign of autism because of how the feet feel when walking on the fully they walk on their toe because it feels better. Children with autism are hyper sensitive and some things are really big trigger so the child will avoid them.

Cindy - posted on 03/21/2010

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My 6 year old does that ! As well as my 30 year old husband. Your child more than likely has a short achilles tendon. No big deal. Just how they are born. Im not a doctor or anything so dont quote me on it .

Crystal - posted on 03/19/2010

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omg my daughter is 4 and she walks tippy toed to and she also walk s into stuff and like falls all the time like she a clutz...my 5 year old does too but only sometimes but she has grown out of it but i dont see my 4 year old growing out of it anytime soon.lol i say shed be a great balarina one day she thinks so too1

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