Habit of always tiptoeing barefoot and in high heels

(2 discussions)

Dear Sir, I am a mother in Thiruvananthapuram, India, and may I please to ask you a few questions about the walking habits of my daughter Deepti, now sixteen years old and in higher secondary school.For around three years, Deepti has taken to walking in high-heeled sandals. They don’t seem too bad (heels one inch higher than toes?), and they look comfortable and pretty enough, so I let her wear them to school everyday, under the condition that she take them off and go barefoot in the classroom and during breaks (please remember that we’re in India this is perfectly normal here).
The problem is that her feet seem to have taken the shape of high heels, and even when she’s walking barefoot, she almost always tiptoes on demi-pointe, that is, she walks on her toes and the balls of her feet. Her heels never touch the ground when walking, even barefoot.And even when she’s not walking, her feet are still tilted. When they’re flat on the floor, her toes are tilted upwards, and when she’s sitting on her chair, she tilts her feet on the legs of the chair.
I asked her about her tiptoe / demi-pointe walking habit, and she said that she doesn’t feel comfortable unless her heel is much higher than her toes, even when walking barefoot. She also said that the way she walks doesn’t make her feet sore because she’s used to it.
I don’t think this is good for her, because this isn’t the way feet are supposed to walk or the way feet are supposed to be shaped. I thought the high-heeled sandals would be all right as long as she took them off, but going barefoot now doesn’t help either, because she always tiptoes on bare feet without any support for her heels, so maybe that’s even worse for her now.And then, her foot muscles and calf muscles sometimes cramp, I think, because of all the pressure she applies to the balls and toes of her feet and the tension in her muscles when walking as she does.Anyway, I would like to know your imput on this matter. I really don’t think her walking pattern is healthy at all and I would like you to confirm my opinions. Do you think the cramps are associated with such a tiptoe walking style? Are there any long-term problems or disorders associated with the tiptoe walking style?
I think I am prepared to let her continue wearing the high-heeled sandals, because I don’t think walking in them is the problem, but rather, the way she tiptoes all the time on bare feet is the problem. So, I have begun to monitor her walking pattern closely and remind her to walk normally, with her heels touching the ground. What is your opinion here?So, could you please tell me if you agree that Deepti’s tiptoe walking style is bad for her feet? And do you think I’m doing to the right thing by letting her wear the high-heeled sandals to school but insisting that she take them off and walk normally barefoot (with her soles touching the ground) in the classroom, during breaks, and at home?
Thank you very much!Yours,Saaya


    Vivian Abrams DPM

    9 10

    This sounds like her calf muscle has contracted . The Achilles tendon has shortened and she is not comfortable with the foot flat on the floor. This is an adaptation to wearing the high heels. As far as treatment goes, if she continues wearing the high heels, then she will continue in this manner. Stretching the calf muscles, wearing a night splint are all possible treatments. She would have to be very conscientious to do these. If she does not have pain, then a surgery would not likely be necessary.


    9 10

    Though here feet aren’t in their growing stage, or have grown mostly completely, it shouldn’t be a great worry. However, she could form bunions later in life from tiptoeing.I’m 16 years old aswell and suffer from severe bunions, but because I’ve been walking on the balls of my feet since I was a child. I like to warn parents/children of this, because now I’m facing intensive surgery in order to correct my feet. It may not be doing very much, but she could face bunions later in life that could not be so serious and others that could require surgery.
    If she wants to continue to wear high heels though, she should do some stretches to stretch her leg tendons so it won’t become tight and she won’t feel compelled to walk tiptoed.Its not serious at the moment, from the sound of it, but if she continues she could require surgery later in life.
    That’s my two cents.


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