Barefoot kid standing on the grass

Why Do Kids Walk on Their Tiptoes

From their first they, babies explore the world around them. In the beginning, that’s the simple look, a smile, or becoming aware of their limbs; later, it’s experimenting with everything around them. Frequently, little ones are seen walking on their toes. But why do kids walk on their tiptoes? Is that a cause of concern or maybe a simple period of life?

Don’t worry; whatever the cause is, parents can quickly reveal with our guide about kids’ toe walking. Let’s dive in!


Why Do Kids Walk on Their Tiptoes?

There is no one common answer to this question. There are many reasons a kid may walk on its toes, but usually, no underlying cause can be identified. However, many studies confirmed that 5 to 12% with proper foot development and overall health walk on their toes for no apparent reason. Parents may even encourage it because they think it’s cute. 

However, here are a few reasons why your kids walk on their tiptoes.



Kids are still learning

Their walking skills haven’t been fully developed yet. In these situations, kids are still unsure and not totally very well-balanced when walking. It represents a highly complex process with many bones and muscles involved. Thus, it takes time for kids to find their perfect stability and steadiness since walking is one of the most significant milestones in childhood. But do not forget that human being is a fascinating things, and so are the babies. They weren’t even able to stand up not too long ago, and soon they will be running around your glass table like little rabbits.

You might feel like its been an eternity, but the truth is, your baby is progressing just how it is supposed to – at its own pace! Walking requires a new way of using their muscles and developing the leg strength required for easy support and walking. In addition, the process of learning to walk takes time. So, if your baby is tiptoeing, it could just be that they are still finding their technique.

It’s essential to talk to a podiatrist if you have concerns about your kids’ motor development. The doctor can provide you guidance and reassurance that your kid needs. In addition, maintaining your baby’s feet will keep them healthy and happy in the long run, even if it doesn’t prevent toe-walking in the short term.



Growth spurts

Kids grow up fast. This means that they often grow in spurts which can cause muscle tension. This can be the reason behind toe-walking in order to relieve discomfort caused by stretching their calf muscles.

However, parents should not worry about this since it can be widespread among kids! Eventually, this muscle strain will decrease, and they will soon walk with their entire foot.


Pure habit

Toe-walking can be nothing but a habit. This is especially common if your kid had used a walker before and got used to pushing itself. And now, even though the walker is a thing of the past, kids continue to do so.

There is no better time than now to break that habit, whether conscious or unconscious. However, if your little one continues to walk like that even after they turn 5 to 6 years, it might cause health and balance problems later, so it’s good to contact a doctor. If this is the case with your kid, then we recommend you try breaking the habit. For instance, you can try to do some yoga exercises for balance, or if your kid shows interest and is a bit older, he/she can try some skating.


Inappropriate footwear

There are many different types of footwear, especially for baby walkers. If your kids have inappropriate shoes, this could be the reason why your little one walks on its tiptoes. This means that either the shoes don’t fit properly. This indicates high comfortability, causing foot pain, and thus enables the kids to walk. For example, your kid might have a wider foot, but they keep on wearing shoes for narrow feet.


The best thing to do is to measure your kids’ feet correctly with the Footmeter and get the proper measurements. This means that you will get the right fit the next time you make a purchase. However, do not forget to measure both kids’ feet since one can be bigger or smaller than the other. This is especially important when buying a baby’s first shoes

However, if uncomfortable shoes are not the case, then there might be a sensory issue involved. In addition to their shape and size, the shoes’ texture can also be problematic. Depending on your child’s foot’s sensitivity, some materials and textures might feel coarser than you would expect. You can easily expect this if your kid had repeatedly been pricked for blood tests in childhood, which can cause hypersensitivity in children born prematurely.

The best way to ensure this does not happen is to ask your kid how she/he feels when wearing them. In addition, if you are shopping online, ensure you check the properties and materials of the shoe with which the footwear is crafted. 

If you let your kid walk on its toes, it might lead to foot, back, hips, and neck pain and clumsiness present later in life.


Other problems

Before you even jump to the conclusion that your kid has health problems, make sure that the factors stated above are not an opinion. Second, if you have some concerns, it is always the best idea to contact your kids’ podiatrist and get a professional opinion. It might be just a stage rather than labeling your kid with unrealistic health problems. 

Remember, all of these situations are easily solved, and it is not something any parent should worry about. 

However, often times kids have no medical or health issues or developmental conditions, and they still walk on their toes. The reason behind it is probably one of the four stated above. Also, there is a name for this type of toe walking, better known as – idiopathic toe walking. Almost all of these kids can walk on their feet as usual, but they quickly revert to walking on their toes when not focused on walking. Usually, this habit comes back when kids are barefooted.


What Should I Do If My Kids Walk on Their Toes?

If your kid constantly walks on its tiptoes, we recommend you take your kid to see a specialist or kids’ paediatrician to get a professional opinion.

It is also a good idea to have your kid assessed by a doctor experienced in idiopathic walking and get the support your kid needs. You can expect the most success if your kid is treated for idiopathic toe walking before age 2. Changing your kid’s walking pattern at this age is easier since their neurological pathways are not fully developed yet.


In Conclusion

If your kids are walking on their piggies, it is not unusual on uncommon. A lot of kids walk on their tiptoes, and it is usually something that is easily fixable. In any case, the best thing to do is not to panic or label your child with a diagnosis.

Instead, take your kid to visit a podiatrist and get a professional opinion. In most cases, toe-walking results from uncomfortable footwear, undeveloped walking, growth sports, or just a simple habit. Overall, toe-walking is usually not a thing to be concerned about, especially if you notice it in the early stages and get professional care. 


  • Petra Moskatelo

    Petra is the main editor and writer here at Footmeter. She is passionate about helping people find the right solution. She holds a university Master's degree in pedagogy, and she knows a lot about children and learning.