Superhero Stretches: Stretches for the Toe-Walker

The goal for these stretches is to lengthen the lower leg muscles as well as strengthen the front leg muscles. Do these daily. Remember: These stretches should not be painful. 

Passive Calf Stretch 

  1. Have your child lay on their back on a comfortable surface.
  2. With their knee straight and their leg supported, bring your child’s foot upwards where their toes point towards the ceiling, flexing their ankle. You want to challenge their range of motion, but not push them too far, just where you feel resistance.
  3. Hold the stretch for 7-10 seconds. If your child’s legs are shaking during any of these stretches, back off the pressure.
  4. Bring your child’s foot back to a neutral position. Repeat 3-5 times on each leg. 

Passive Achilles Tendon Stretch

  1. Have your child lay on their back on a comfortable surface.
  2. Bring your child’s knee upwards toward their chest and have their lower leg parallel to the ground. 
  3. With the foot pointing upward and the knee bent, stretch the foot at the ankle until you feel resistance.
  4. Hold the stretch for 7-10 seconds. If your child’s legs are shaking during any of these stretches, back off the pressure.
  5. Bring your child’s foot back to a neutral position. Repeat 3-5 times on each leg. 

If your child is able to follow simple instructions or copy you, have them try these. 

Seated Calf Stretch (Sit and Reach)

  1. Have your child put their feet (toes and heels) up against a wall while seated, with their legs extended.
  2. Have them reach for their toes without bending their knees. If they can’t reach their toes, that’s okay as long as their legs remain extended as they reach forward. 
  3. Hold the stretch for 7-10 seconds. 
  4. Repeat 3 times.

Downward Facing Dog

  1. While standing, have your child place their hands on the floor. 
  2. Have your child step their feet back until they resemble an inverted V. 
  3. Have them press their heels towards the ground the best they can.
  4. Hold the position for 10 seconds.
  5. If they want, they can “walk the dog” (alternate bending each knee while pressing the other heel down)

Lunging Calf Stretch (Runner’s Lunge)

  1. Have your child stand facing a few feet away from a wall.
  2. With their hands on the wall for support, have your child step one foot back into a lunge (bending the front leg while keeping the back leg straight).
  3. Have the child lean into the wall and press their back heel down so it is flat on the ground. 
  4. Hold the stretch for 7-10 seconds. 
  5. Repeat on the other side.

Sit to Stand

  1. Have your child sit on a chair or stool (one where their feet are flat on the ground and their knees are at a 90-degree angle).
  2. With their feet flat on the floor, have them stand up from the chair while keeping their heels on the ground. 
  3. Repeat 10 times.

Duck Walk

  1. While your child is standing, have them try to stand on only their heels with their toes off the ground. 
  2. Have them walk around the room for 30 seconds (like a duck) with only their heels on the ground.
  3. If walking around is too hard, standing with their toes off the floor for 7-10 seconds is fine. Repeat 3 times. 

For more stretches and activities to loosen up muscles, check out our Child(ish) Advice Pinterest Page.

Superhero Stretches: Stretched for the Toe-Walker

Sources:
“Toe Walking, Idiopathic”, SickKidsStaff. AboutKidsHealth.ca.
“5 Essential Calf Stretches Everyone Should Be Doing”, Alexa Tucker. SELF Magazine. Self.com.

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