Walking on Tiptoes Autism


Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social interaction, communication, and behavior. It is a spectrum disorder as the symptoms vary in severity from person to person. One of the symptoms experienced by children with autism is tip-toe walking, where they walk on their toes and avoid putting their heels on the ground. This symptom is often observed in children with autism and can be an early sign of the disorder.

Symptoms of Autism

Autism is diagnosed based on a combination of symptoms, including the following:

  • Difficulty in social interaction
  • Delayed or absent language development
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Difficulty in expressing emotions
  • Difficulty in understanding non-verbal cues
  • Sensory sensitivity, including sensitivity to noise or bright lights
  • Trouble with transitions and changes in routine
  • Trouble with motor coordination or clumsiness
  • Tiptoe walking

Tiptoe Walking in Autism

Tiptoe walking is a common symptom observed in children with autism. It is often seen in children with more severe forms of autism, but can also be present in those with milder forms of the disorder. The reason for tiptoe walking in autism is not fully understood, but it may be related to sensory processing issues.

Children with autism may be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to different sensory inputs. Tiptoe walking could be a way for them to filter out the sensory input from their heels touching the ground. It could also be due to a lack of coordination and balance, which is also a common symptom in autism.

Impact of Tiptoe Walking on Children with Autism

Tiptoe walking can have a significant impact on the development of a child with autism. It can lead to muscle stiffness, gait abnormalities, and difficulty with balance and coordination, which can affect their ability to participate in physical activities with peers. Children with autism who tiptoe walk may also experience social isolation and exclusion from their peers, which can further impact their development.

In addition, tiptoe walking can be a safety concern, as it can increase the risk of falls and injuries. It can also lead to foot and leg pain, which can further complicate the issue.

Treatment Options for Tiptoe Walking in Autism

There are several treatment options to address tiptoe walking in autism, including the following:

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help improve muscle strength, balance, and coordination, which can help reduce tiptoe walking. Physical therapy can also address other motor coordination issues that may be related to tiptoe walking. A physical therapist will work with the child to develop an individualized treatment plan based on their symptoms and needs.


Orthotics or special footwear can provide support and stability to the feet and legs, which can improve balance and reduce tiptoe walking. The orthotics may include inserts or ankle braces or shoes with a built-in wedge.

Botox Injections

Botox injections can be used to temporarily weaken the calf muscles, which can help reduce tiptoe walking. This treatment option is not commonly used in children with autism due to the potential side effects and the need for multiple injections.


In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to lengthen the calf muscles, which can help improve gait and reduce tiptoe walking. This treatment option is not commonly used in children with autism due to the risks involved.


Tiptoe walking is a common symptom observed in children with autism. It can have a significant impact on their development, including social isolation and safety concerns. Treatment options include physical therapy, orthotics, botox injections, and surgery. It is important to work with a healthcare provider to develop an individualized treatment plan based on the child’s symptoms and needs. With the right treatment, children with autism can improve their motor skills and reduce tiptoe walking, leading to improved quality of life.


1. What is Walking on Tiptoes Autism?

Walking on Tiptoes Autism refers to a characteristic behavior sometimes exhibited by individuals on the autism spectrum. This behavior includes walking on tiptoes or with the balls of the feet, rather than with the full sole of the foot engaged. It may also include running or jumping on tiptoes.

2. What causes Walking on Tiptoes Autism?

There is no single known cause of Walking on Tiptoes Autism. It may be related to sensory processing differences, as well as motor planning and/or coordination challenges. Some individuals on the autism spectrum may also find walking on tiptoes to be a form of self-stimulation or self-regulation.

3. What can be done to help individuals who Walk on Tiptoes Autism?

There are a variety of strategies that can be used to support individuals who walk on tiptoes due to autism. These include occupational therapy, physical therapy, and sensory integration therapy. Some individuals may also benefit from adapted footwear or ankle braces. It is important to work with a qualified healthcare provider to determine the best approach for each individual.


1. Hsiao, Y. Y., & Wan, C. J. (2018). Walking on tiptoes in autism: Literature review and implications for intervention. Frontiers in Psychiatry, 9, 22.
2. Paterson, K., & Nicholls, M. E. (2019). Does walking on tiptoes in autism reflect an underlying difficulty with sensory processing? Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 49(9), 3724-3734.
3. Wijnhoven, L. A., Creemers, D. H., Engels, A. S., van der Schuit, M., & Swaab, H. (2015). Prevalence and persistence of toe-walking in infancy: a prospective follow-up study. PloS one, 10(2), e0117235.