Toe walking occurs for various reasons which could involve children with Autism who seek certain sensory input or can be caused by spasticity in the calf muscles in children with Cerebral Palsy (CP). Toe walking is often overlooked, however, it needs to be addressed due to the physical limitations the can come from it.
Is it sensory or spasticity?
If your child is diagnosed with Autism and toe walks it is often times related to sensory input. It could be that they are seeking or avoiding that input they receive from the ground. If the child is avoidant, it is because they are uncomfortable with the feeling of different surfaces on their feet. If seeking, it is because they receive more input and increases the force impact from the ground to the ball of the foot. For children with CP, the spasticity creates the toe walking due to continuous contractions in the calf muscle pulling the feet into that pointed position.
What toe walking can create?
If not addressed, toe walking can create muscle tightening and/or shortening. With spasticity, the calf muscle will also become tightened and/or shortened, however, it will become fixated in that position making it harder to move out of that position.
Things you can do at home with your child: