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Toe Walking: Facts, Tips, and Products That Help!

You watch your child walk across the floor on the balls of their feet and immediately want to call your pediatrician; but wait, this may be more common than you think.  Toe-walking is often associated with neuromuscular conditions including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. It is also a common gait pattern in children diagnosed with autism due to the increased sensory input they receive through the balls of their feet.  This gait pattern can be considered normal development when your child is first learning to walk because children ambulate on different areas of their feet.

Many children feel more stable and comfortable walking on the balls of their feet. By the age of 2, children should be walking with total foot contact. If they are continuing to walk on their toes, this may be habitual. When should you be concerned?

Consult with your pediatrician if your child displays stiff muscles, falls frequently, has a decline in motor skills, has pain when trying to walk with total foot contact, is uncoordinated, has delayed speech and fine motor skills or has recently started toe walking after walking with a flat foot or heel to toe foot progression.

What can you do to at home to promote improved gait pattern? Below are some exercises and tips to promote a flat foot and heel to toe foot progressions.

Increase Heel Contact

As stated above, many kids like the sensory input that they receive when contacting the ground with the balls of their feet.  A great way to provide sensory input at the heel is add sound when the heel comes in contact with the ground. You can do this by adding toy squeakers to the bottom of their shoes.  Another great and affordable option is the Ikiki shoe. This shoe has a built in squeaker at the heel that can be turned on and off as needed. Lastly, have your child walk backwards to increase heel contact with the ground.  You can make back walking more difficult by having them walk backwards while pulling your hands or a wagon.


Children that walk on their toes typically display good calf strength, however, they have weakness of their intrinsic foot and anterior lower leg muscles. Some good exercises to address foot musculature include having your child pick up marbles with their toes, curling a towel underneath their toes and performing balance activities on unstable surfaces. Another great way to address intrinsic foot musculature is having your child walk around barefoot.  Some exercises to target the shin area include having your child walk on their heels like a duck, scooter board propelling with heels only touching the ground and sitting while placing a small toy or bean bag on the top of their foot while marching in place.


As your child continues to walk on their toes they may display increased tightness of their calf muscles.  Have your child stand on a stretching wedge or at an incline while playing with toys or place a piece of paper on the wall and have them draw a picture.

Correct Them

When you observe your child toe-walking, make sure to correct them. Use verbal prompts to promote a heel to toe foot progression, i.e “heel, toe, heel, toe.” Do not forget to give them verbal praise when they are ambulating with proper foot contact.

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LLA Therapy

Patient Reviews

Crystal Scheibe

Great place, glad we found them. Been going to Medina over 2 months now and he loves Lauryn and Kyler. Wish they had more ABA therapy places available... live in Wooster and long drive everyday.

Karrie Swan LaRock

My 11 year old son has dyslexia and has made noticeable gains in working At LLA THERAPY. Katie is strong in her approach toward him and also keeps him comfortable enough to perform well. We will continue visiting both the Fairlawn and Hudson offices and recommend them highly.

Ron Monroe

My 9 year old just completed about 9 months of weekly speech sessions (due to his stuttering) with Matt Hagge at LLA and we are thrilled with the experience and results. What I thought might be a negative (what kid really wants to go to speech class?) was made very positive by Matt, and my son never hesitated or complained when we talked about class. He really enjoyed it and really took what Matt taught him to heart. His speech has been greatly improved and we definitely recommend LLA. Thank you so much!

Heather Dougherty-Pantoja

My son’s Occupational Therapist, Jess, is an amazing OT! She gives practical tips on working with my son at home and school!

Terri Apgar

I cannot say enough good things about LLA Therapy. My daughter was a client of Teal Simmons’ for approximately 2 years and was just released from speech therapy! She was diagnosed with Apraxia in 2015 and worked with Teal twice a week. Through Teal’s application of PROMPT therapy, my daughter had age-appropriate speech after one year. All of the staff we interacted with at LLA were absolutely wonderful. They really care about what they do and making sure your child achieves their goals.

Kelli Geisler Davisson

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for my son as well as my family! My son always asks, "When can I go see Ms. Jeannine again, is it Monday??" He has also made huge gains in only 5 months! I would highly recommend LLA and have already shared my experience with friends looking for services!

Victoria Hansford-Price

We are so grateful for our Speech Therapist Ms.Teal. We have seen a great improvement with our sons confidence and communication abilities since we have started "Prompt" therapy. What we love the most about LLA and Ms. Teal is that Kohl feels comfortable and relaxed which has played a critical role in his progress. Thank you Ms. Teal for all you have done.

Laura Lee Hogsett

They have helped in numerous ways. Speech, OT and behavioral. I've had numerous compliments on my son's progress thanks in very large part to LLA. I would recommend LLA before I recommend our local children's hospitals, though they are good, they don't have the staff that LLA does.

Amy Furukawa

We had a great experience with Matt Hagge at LLA! Our Middle School age son was becoming very conscious of his voice, which is nasal due to a cleft palate. Matt helped him to better form his sounds and project his voice in a way that makes the unavoidable nasality less noticeable.Our son is more confident and outgoing & even took on a speaking role in the church play. Matt has the perfect personality to relate with our son, and we would recommend him to anyone needing speech therapy services!

Jessica Havalotti

LLA Therapy has been an excellent experience for our daughter. I would highly recommend LLA. Miss Grace was so amazing and I can't believe how quickly our daughter showed improvement. Thank you!
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