Special Needs

Any reformed toe walkers?

I'm pretty sure I've posted about this before. DS has toe-walked for years, but it seems to come and go. I see it almost all of the time now. Maybe it's the excitement of the holidays and him being out of school. His private OT at one time recommended brushing, but his public OT was a little more ambivalent. His dev. pedi is pretty practical, and said it seemed to be a big commitment, and unless everyone was on board, it probably wouldn't be effective. (I.e. his public school would have to brush him regularly) I brought up toe-walking at his IEP eval and everyone, including the OT, said it didn't seem to be a problem. He qualifies for DAPE now, and that specialist is working on getting him to run heel to toe instead of toe to heel.

Should I be doing anything else? We've been turned down for PT in the past, perhaps we'd qualify now? His doctor checks his feet/tendons every year and says they aren't tight, and that the toe-walking is sensory and thus not covered by OT (at least, that's how I understood him).

Re: Any reformed toe walkers?

  • We pushed down on his shoulders every time we saw him doing it. 
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  • Not sure if this helps, but my cousin's DD is having toe walking issues left over (always has been a toe walker) after wheelchair walker to braces to dorsal surgery to training braces now working on walking completely independently.

    She recently finished robotics therapy (age 9 btw) and in therapy she toe to heel walked really well for quite a lot of time; however now that it is done they have to verbally cue her all the time. They know she can do it, so I see their frustration and can see yours. Maybe the other posters are right about a stim type behavior.

    DD toe walks and loves joint compression, however, with the orthotics/inward knee when fast walking/running - I think it may be a balance thing as well for her.

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  • I was a toe walker as a child, my parents would remind me all the time to walk on my heels.

    One day I decided to mentally remind myself to walk "heel-toe, heel-toe", I trained myself to walk on my heels after a few months of repeating the phrase in my mind.
    I think I wanted to hear the clicking of heels from my big girl shoes, and toe walking wouldn't allow for that.


    I had to make the decision to change - but this is my experience.
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  • Thanks for the replies and advice. I do think it is a little bit of boredom. This morning he came out of his room practically "en pointe" and I told him to knock it off- he complained that he had to walk on his toes because it was so cold in the house. I sound like such a grump constantly barking at him "off your toes!!" Maybe I'll just hand him some gum from now on.
  • fredalina said:
    Ugh, this brings back so many memories of my childhood and my mom's "signals". It started before I could remember with her rubbing her thumb and index fingers' nails together "click click click" meaning "be quiet" (if she was talking on the phone or in person). Then the "do not slouch" verbal and visual cues (her palm held straight up) and threats of not letting me do fun things like go on family vacations, the silent treatments, the threats of getting nothing for Christmas but a back brace. And it started all over when I started chewing my nails. I still slouch and chew my nails. Yes my back hurts but my relationship with my mom REALLY suffered. IDK the solution because clearly there are physical concerns with toe walking, but it brought back so many negative memories I had to post.
    I'm sorry you had to go through that. That's why we're so very careful to offer positive reinforcement when he does well rather than ramping the negative when he doesn't. I figure he may still turn sixteen, become a neurodiversity activist, and hate our guts, but we'll have done what we could to help him be successful long-term in a society that isn't always understanding.
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