ReBlogged from Dr. Brandon Macy, Clark Podiatry Center
“Get up on your toes” is a figure of speech urging you to prepare to start something energetically. But when your child appears to be walking on tiptoe most of the time, you sense that something isn’t quite right.
Many parents fear something dire is going on, whether it might be tightness of the Achilles tendons in need of intensive physical therapy, surgery or some neurological issue which sounds even worse. Fortunately, although those situations do sometimes happen, more commonly the answer is far simpler and easier to deal with.
Feet which overpronate (flatten) too much are unstable—there is a lack of ‘leverage’ during walking and running—which is a very inefficient way of getting around. To combat this, raising up on the toes puts the foot in a more stable position. Also, depending on the balance between the forefoot and the rearfoot and the tightness of the Achilles tendon, the heel may lift off the ground prematurely during the gait cycle.
In these cases, muscles, tendons and ligaments have to work extra hard resulting in early fatigue, achiness and pain, affecting their gait and their athletic activities. Over many years, this can lead to foot deformities and arthritic damage to the feet, knees, hips and back.
Most of the time, if your child can stand with both heels on the ground, there is no major tightening of the Achilles tendon. Fortunately, providing proper support and balancing of the feet with a good set of orthotics such as our LittleSteps pediatric orthotics or our adult versions for those over the age of 10 can help deal with the majority of these situations. Using good orthotics on a daily basis can change things rather quickly, decreasing the toe walking and allowing your child to participate fully in their sports activities with less fatigue and pain—not to mention preventing larger problems into adulthood.
For more information visit our website at www.clarkpodiatry.com.