Toe walking in adults

In children, toe walking is often an early sign of a genetic condition that causes toe walking.

It’s known as hereditary dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa (HDEB). One form of this condition, called pyloric atresia, causes the intestines to fail to develop properly, which often results in the baby’s feet failing to develop properly.

Some children may walk with their toes, but their feet will only have limited mobility. Others may have a foot that can be stretched a bit and moved around, but it won’t develop the proper curvature.

While toe walking may be the only symptom of this genetic condition, there are other symptoms. These may include:

  • Painful, swollen, and stiff joints in the foot, ankles, knees, hands, and elbows
  • Blisters to the skin around the joints
  • Skin that cracks or peels
  • Loose skin around the joints
  • Skin that turns blue or red
  • Pain in the joints and muscles in the hands and feet
  • Pain when walking or standing
  • Pain when the foot is touched

Children with this condition may need special shoes or appliances to help them walk, including:

  • Slings or braces to hold the foot in place
  • Night splints to keep the foot from moving
  • Shoe inserts to help the foot bend

Sometimes, children with this condition may also have problems with their nails, such as:

  • Nails that grow inward
  • Nails that don’t grow at all and the nail tips are exposed
  • Nails that break
  • Nails that grow abnormally
  • Nails that are crooked

When to see your doctor?

If your child has a foot deformity that causes your child to have trouble standing, walking, or sitting, you should speak with a doctor.

Your doctor will help you determine the best treatment or treatment plan for your child.

You should always consult your doctor if your child has a foot deformity that causes them to have trouble standing, walking, or sitting.

In addition to the deformity, your child should have other symptoms or conditions that need to be taken into account when deciding on a treatment plan.

In some cases, a doctor may recommend surgery to correct the foot deformity.

Other complications

If your child has a toe walking deformity, you should take steps to make sure that they don’t have any other complications.

For example, your child should avoid playing sports that involve jumping or high-impact activities, which can be hard on the joints.

In addition to avoiding high-impact sports, your child should also avoid playing sports that require them to jump.

Your child can also try to avoid sports that require them to run, such as soccer.

Additionally, your child should try to limit the amount of time they spend on their feet.

Pregnancy complications

If your child has a toe walking deformity, they may also have a foot condition called plantar fasciitis.

Plantar fasciitis is a condition that causes the plantar fascia ligament in the foot to become inflamed or irritated.

The plantar fascia ligament is the flat band of tissue that connects the toes to the heel bone. This ligament helps absorb shock and protect the foot from injury.

The condition is more common in people with overweight or obese feet.

If your child is pregnant or has other conditions that can affect their pregnancy, they should see a doctor.

The doctor will discuss your child’s condition and the potential risks with them. If necessary, they may need to monitor your child’s condition during pregnancy.

A doctor may recommend that your child’s foot is immobilized while they’re pregnant.

Complications of toe walking

Some complications may come from the deformity itself.

For example, your child may have toe walking deformities that cause them to have trouble walking or standing.

Another potential complication is that they may develop an infection in their foot, which can cause the deformity to become more severe.

Complications of plantar fasciitis include:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Inflammation in the tissue in the heel or the arch of the foot
  • Numbness or tingling in the foot
  • Inability to walk or stand normally

Plantar fasciitis can also cause your child to develop pain in their:

  • Toes
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Lower back

In addition, plantar fasciitis may lead to:

  • Pain at the base of the toes
  • Pain in the heel
  • Pain in the arch of the foot

Treatment options

If your doctor determines that your child’s toe walking deformity is causing them to have trouble standing, walking, or sitting, they may recommend a treatment plan.

For example, your child may need to wear special shoes or other appliances to help them stand, walk, or sit.

For example, they may need to wear:

  • Slings or braces to keep the foot in place
  • Shoe inserts to help the foot bent

Your child will be monitored during this treatment, and they may need to see a doctor for follow-up appointments.

In some cases, your child may need to go to physical therapy.

How to find a doctor?

If you’re concerned about your child’s toe walking deformity, your doctor can help.

Some doctors may be able to treat your child’s condition without surgery.

If you think that your child may need surgery, you can check with their doctor to see if they have any available surgical locations.

A doctor will also give you information on how to find a surgeon who specializes in foot and ankle surgery.

You can also ask your doctor about the American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery.

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons also offers a list of surgeons who specialize in foot and ankle procedures.

What’s the outlook?

In some cases, toe walking may not cause any long-term problems.

Images by Freepik

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