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A 43-year-old member asked:

Is there anything wrong with a preschool child walking on tippy toes a lot?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nader Ajluni
Pediatrics 36 years experience
Check heel cords: Toe walking can be seen in a number of preschoolers. Child needs exam to rule out shortened heel cords (Achilles tendons) that may need stretching or occasionally surgery to allow lengthening. I would also evaluate knee (patellar) reflexes and a reflex called an anal wink. IF either of these are missing, the child may have a tethered spinal cord which requires neurosurgery to release tether.
Dr. Tammi Schlichtemeier
Pediatrics 31 years experience
Possibly: Toe walking can be seen in a number of preschoolers. Child needs exam to rule out shortened heel cords ( achilles tendons) that may need stretching or occasionally surgery to allow lengthening. I would also evaluate knee (patellar) reflexes and a reflex called an anal wink. If either of these are missing, the child may have a tetherered spinal cord which requires neurosurgery to release tether.
Dr. Ellen Wenzel
Podiatry 14 years experience
See a physician: It can be normal to some extent but when habitual it may need to be addressed. This can be done conservatively in most cases via a period of casting in a walking cast followed by bracing. Some children may require surgery but this is not always the case. See a physician that is board certified in the treatment of foot and ankle conditions (podiatry or foot/ankle ortho) with interest in pediatrics.
Dr. Johanna Fricke
Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics 50 years experience
Need to know why: Tiptoe walking that persists for > 3 mos. After a toddler starts walking is atypical. Sometimes it's seen in tots with developmental language disorders or autistic disorders, for reasons unknown. It may be brain- or spinal cord-based, if "tight" heel cords +/- other findings are seen on physical & neurological exams. Let the pediatrician see him; it may only require ankle/foot orthotics.

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Last updated Sep 28, 2016

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