You’ve probably heard about toe-walking, and checked out your own kids to see if they’re doing it. Rest assured: It is completely normal for a child to walk on their toes before the age of three. It is also common for children with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorders to toe walk. If your child continues to toe walk after the age of three, and does not have a neuromuscular or neurological diagnosis, this may be a sign of sensory processing difficulties or a developmental delay.
A child may toe walk if they have difficulty processing information from their proprioceptive and vestibular systems. These systems are responsible for the child’s posture, coordination, and balance. The child may also be over-responding to touch sensation on their feet. Difficulty processing information from these sensory systems has also been linked to poor behavior and learning difficulties.
You can find more information on sensory-based toe walking here and here.
LifeScape offers physical and occupational therapy services that address toe walking. If your child regularly walks on their toes without a diagnosis, talk to your child’s pediatrician. He or she may refer your child to LifeScape for the appropriate services.
Call us for details: In Sioux Falls, 605-444-9700. In Sioux City, 712-226-ABLE (2253). In Rapid City, 605-791-7400.
Learn more about LifeScape’s therapy services.
- Kaitlyn Ludwig, OTS, Occupational Therapy Doctoral Student, University of South Dakota