An update on Lydia’s toe-walking

***If you’ve landed on my blog from searching the ‘net for info on tip toe walking or serial casting or AFO braces, hello. This particular post here is one in a number I wrote about my daughter’s tip toe walking. I encourage you to start with this post instead. It encapsulates our journey more succinctly.***

Today Lydia had an appointment with the physical therapist for her toe walking. She has been wearing her night braces since last summer and also her day braces since last September. We were doing physical therapy every week most of last year up until November … then we went to once a month sessions. Lydia showed slight improvement from the December to January appointment, but at today’s appointment she has regressed slightly. Her muscle range when her foot is flexed is still about 10 degrees off what it should be. And she’s still walking on her tip toes as soon as she gets out of her braces. I’m talking, her first step is on her tip toes. It’s just natural for her to walk that way, I guess. I’ve tried walking on my tip toes and it’s so uncomfortable I can only do it for three steps. Lydia runs on her tip-toes. The problem is that it’s her natural instinct is to step down first with her toes, when normal walking is heel-to-toe.

So the next step will be that from now until June, we’ll continue to work with her at home on her home exercises, which is to work with her balancing on one foot and working her calf muscle and doing activities to promote her to walk heel-to-toe. Starting in June, the physical therapist wants to do a six-week session of electrical muscle stimulation. Basically there would be electrical stimulants placed on her legs, and with a remote the physical therapist will ‘hit the button’ when Lydia is supposed to step, and the electrodes would stimulate her to walk heel-to-toe, by pulling up her toes. It will be interesting to see how the process works, and to see if it will work. The physical therapist said she’d put the electrical currents on me first so that I can feel what it’s like. I hope this treatment shows some improvement. If it doesn’t, then I’m not too sure what the next steps will be. We keep hoping that she’ll grow out of it. She’s so good that she doesn’t complain about wearing her braces – even to school she doesn’t mind. She did tell me that a boy in her class pushed her while they were walking down the hall and he told her that she wasn’t walking fast enough. Grrr! That really made me mad. This boy, we hear stories about him all the time, he sounds absolutely rotten. I have a conference with the teacher next week and I’m going to ask her about his behavior. We’ve heard lots of stories about the stuff that he does. The very last thing I would want to have happen is to have some punk brat at preschool make fun of her for wearing braces. I won’t tolerate it!

During dinner tonight we were talking to Lydia about her braces and her tip-toe walking, and we asked her why she thinks she walks on her tip toes, and she said that it’s because she “doesn’t think” when she walks, so she just walks that way. It’s just ingrained in her to walk that way, for some reason. We’ll keep working on it to re-train her brain and her feet!

6 thoughts on “An update on Lydia’s toe-walking

  1. So at what age can you beat up a brat kid?! Well good for her for handeling all this so well. The whole thing with the electrical muscle stimulation sounds interesting…I hope that works.

  2. Kittie & Ky – I KNOW. I totally want to kick his little hiney! I have parent teacher conferences Wednesday and I'm bringing up his behavior to the teahcer! Ky – the girls are 4.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hi. I came across your blog last year – I also have a toe walking daughter. My daughter started with a “negative degree” range of motion. She wore day braces for about six months and now has complete, full range of motion! However, just like Lydia, the instant the braces are off she is on her toes. I am interested in reading about Lydia’s PT…..that sounds a little scary! I honestly don’t know what our next step is. Her ortho recently dropped our insurance and I am in the process of looking for a new one. We did lots of PT before the braces and I felt like it was a waste of time for us. I’ll be checking your blog for an update! (

  4. Anonymous says:

    I’ve been following your blog a long time now. My 6 year old son walked on his toes from 2 years until last December. We did everything that you have done, PT, braces, special shoes. The only thing that worked for him was becoming a patient of Shriner’s hospital (free) and having him serial casted. He came out of the cast on Dec 30th and wears his night braces when he sleeps. He does not walk on his toes anymore. Shriners taught me so much about idopathic toe walking (he doesn’t have CP). Let me know if you have any questions ( I know that this is tough. It has been the hardest thing that my family has gone through. Hang in there!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hello! I just came across your blog today (I was doing a Google search on toe walking and blog) and can’t wait to read more about your daughter and her tip-toe walking. I have a 21/2 year old son that walks on his tip toes. My husband and I took him to the pediatrician last month (April) for an evaluation and he recommended PT. We went to a PT evaluation last week and then had our first session this morning (1 hour). The therapist showed my husband and I several stretches to do with our son. She also thinks that he has sensory issues and gave us a brush to use on the bottom of his foot and suggested that we try to get him to walk bare foot more often as he always like to have his socks on. The therapist also gave us weights to put around his ankles and some pads to attach to the bottom of his shoes that squeaks. He seemed to like those.

    We’ll be going to PT for the next 5 weeks to see how our son responds and our therapist did mention night casts today. I would be interested in hearing more about your story or anyone else’s and/or any other articles or resources for parents.

    I am finding it difficult to explain to my parents and my in-laws and would appreciate any input. Thanks so much! ~Nichole
    nandjdonabar AT yahoo DOT com

    ps- How awful about the boy at your daughters preschool. I hope that the teacher can help out and get him to stop acting like a bully.

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