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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Exercises for toe walking

Try to do these exercises twice a day or as directed by your physiotherapist. Your physiotherapist may give you other exercises to do as well.

Unless your physiotherapist says otherwise, follow the instructions below for how many times to repeat each exercise.

If you have any questions or problems with the exercises, see your physiotherapist.

Calf stretch

  • Stand with the leg that you want to stretch behind you. Make sure both feet are facing forwards.
  • Keeping your heels on the floor, slowly bend your front knee until you feel a stretch in your back calf muscle. Keep your back knee straight.
  • Hold the position for 10 seconds then relax.
  • Repeat 3 times.
  • Repeat with the other leg.

Heel drop off a wedge

  • Stand with both feet on a wedge with your heels off the edge.
  • Let your body weight bring your heels down, feeling a stretch in the back of your calves.
  • This is especially useful when your muscles are warm. For example, after a bath.
  • Hold the position for 30 seconds, gradually increasing to 5 minutes.
  • Repeat twice daily during routine activities. For example, while brushing teeth.

    Progression – Heel drop off a step:

  • Stand with the widest parts of your feet on the edge of a step.
  • Let your body weight bring your heels down, feeling a stretch in the back of your calves.
  • Hold for 30 seconds then lift your heels up.
  • Repeat 3 times.

 

Penguin walking

  • Walk on your heels with your toes and forefoot lifted. This keeps your knees straight and your trunk upright like a penguin!
  • Walk like this for 60 seconds.

Standing on one leg

  • Stand on one leg. How many seconds can you stand still?
  • Repeat with your other leg.

    Progressions:

    1. Cross your arms while standing on one leg.

    2. Pick up objects with your free foot while keeping balanced. For example, socks or beanbags.

    3. Stand on one leg with your eyes closed.

    4. Stand on one leg on a wobbly pillow.

 

Line walking (tandem)

  • Tape a line approximately 5 m long by 2.5 cm wide using masking tape.
  • Walk along the line.

    Progressions:

    1. Balance a beanbag on your head while walking along the line.

    2. Practice heel-toe walking forwards then backwards.

Bridge

  • Lie on your back with your arms at your side and your knees bent. Your feet should be flat on the floor. Lift your bottom off the floor and hold this position for 10 seconds then relax.
  • Repeat 5 times.

    Progressions:

    1. As above, but once your bottom is off the floor, march by lifting one leg to 90 degrees and back to the ground. Then lift the other leg to 90 degrees and back to the ground. Repeat 5 times.

    2. As above, but once your bottom is off the floor, straighten one knee. Hold for 10 seconds then relax. Then do the same with the other knee. Repeat 5 times.

 

Sit to stand

  • Practise standing from a chair or stool while keeping both heels flat on the floor.
  • If needed, have someone place their hands below your knees and apply downwards pressure as a cue to keep your heels on the floor.
  • Repeat 15 times.

Written by Paediatric Outpatients Musculoskeletal Physiotherapists, Te Whatu Ora Waitaha. Adapted by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Page created December 2023.

Sources

Page reference: 1319339

Review key: HICLF-132158