Please help me - toe walker, sensory issues and uncomfortable shoes - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-14-2009, 01:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My almost 6 year old has always been a toe walker. It's getting worse and she's falling all over the place. We had a physical therapy evaluation yesterday and the therapist wants her in hard shoes - hard tennis shoe preferrably so she can't lift up on her toes and it will keep her heel from whipping outward to steady her.

Ok so normally that would be fine but, this kid has major sensory issues related to shoes and clothes. She completely freaks out if her feet are contained. It's not a fit, it's panic. She just can't handle having closed in shoes with socks.

So we went yesterday and bought new, pretty, pink tennis shoes. She tried on a bunch and picked these.

She wore them for a couple hours yesterday and was fine.

This morning, she's completely freaked out. Sobbing and sobbing that they are uncomfortable. Again, it's not a fit. It's a true panic thing. She just can't handle it.

So, now what? We've tried turning her socks inside out so she can't feel the seam. We've tried going without socks. But, it's having her feet contained that's so hard for her. She can't stand having hot feet. And, really, I don't blame her. It's uncomfortable.

So, I'm at a loss. She is embarrassed because she falls down all the time. She falls down all the time because her gait is off - she walks on her toes and whips one of her heels out which throws her balance off. The way this needs to be corrected is flat, solid, sturdy, non bendable shoes (as well as exercises/stretches). But, she can't tolerate her feet being contained.

I'm at a loss.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:00 PM
 
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Maybe there is something with open toes? Or something that you can cut the toes out of, or make holes in the sides for ventilation. Too bad all those mesh sneaker types of shoes are all very flexible.

Hot feet drive my ds nuts. I'm glad I don't have to do more than find something he finds comfortable and that fits his wide feet.

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Old 04-14-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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what about keens? there is another thread (shoe/sandal hybrid) and the only real complaint about keens is the inflexibility, but they have holes all over them to provide air circulation.
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Old 04-14-2009, 03:20 PM
 
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Hmmm, how about something like Keens. They have a very hard sole, act a lot like a sneaker but are a sandal so her feet should stay cooler. My 6y DD1 has SPD and shoes/socks are a big issue for her. She only wears flip flops or crocs, (snow boots if the snow is deep) she will tolerate Keens for things like the park/biking riding. She absolutely refuses to wear sneakers of any kind. I've gotten her to wear the Keens with socks before in cold weather when I never could of gotten a sneaker on her.

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Old 04-14-2009, 03:29 PM
 
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Occupational therapy!!! Pronto.

Run out and get a copy of Sensational Kids by Lucy ****** (try your library)

Ideally, you'd get an OT (occupational therapist) who will work with your PT to help the PT understand that this isn't just 'willfulness' but truly sensory. And your OT can work on getting her to wear clothing AND on the hypersensitivity that causes her to be a toe walker in the first place.

Our ds was also hypersensitive to clothing, and after about 3-4 weeks of the brushing protocol the OT showed us, he was a lot, lot better. (As in he no longer needs his shoes 2 sizes too big, and was willing to go barefoot, something he'd never done before.) It took nearly 2 years of OT to resolve some of his motor planning issues, but the clothes sensitivity got better soon.

I second the keens.

The other thing that I'd suggest is a slow desensitization process - the first day, she has to wear them for 3 minutes. The next for 5. The next for 10 and slowly build up the amount of time that she has them on. My suspicion is that once you get to 30-40 minutes, she'll quickly move to being OK for longer periods of time.

Oh, and before you put them on, have her do some 'heavy' motor work - jumping up and down 20 times, stomping her feet really hard. Get some therabands like they use for PT, tie them around her feet so she can move her feet a bit, but has to push against the therabands to make a step (ask the PT about this). That will help calm her nervous system a bit.

Definitely read up on SPD
http://www.spdfoundation.net/
http://www.sensorynanny.com/index.html
http://www.sensory-processing-disorder.com/

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Old 04-14-2009, 10:44 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post
Ideally, you'd get an OT (occupational therapist) who will work with your PT to help the PT understand that this isn't just 'willfulness' but truly sensory. And your OT can work on getting her to wear clothing AND on the hypersensitivity that causes her to be a toe walker in the first place.
ITA! OT has done WONDERS for DS and his sensory issues! The place we go for his therapy offers speech, occupational and physical therapy. Is that possible where you go, so that the therapists could work together?

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Old 04-15-2009, 01:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the thoughts! We just had our first PT eval on monday and the therapist agreed that an OT eval is in order. I have an OT questionaire I'm filling out for next week and the OT will score it to determine if OT is indicated.

I will definitely check out the keens - thank you!
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