Has your physical or occupational therapist diagnosed your child with low muscle tone?
When children get diagnosed with low muscle tone one of the first questions parents ask is: What does this means?
Low muscle tone is used to describe muscles that are floppy. Children with low muscle tone may need to put in more effort to get their muscles moving properly when they are performing a particular activity.
Your child might have been diagnosed with low muscle tone for any of the following reasons:
- Your child muscles might appear to be less firm than usual.
- Your child appears to be floppy and to have loose joints.
One thing that physical and occupational therapists will recommend for a child with low muscle tone is supportive shoes, and in certain cases, orthotics. I know this because I have been working for a specialized children’s shoe store for over 10 years and we help families that were referred from physical and occupational therapists that wanted those children in supportive shoes and in some cases orthotics as well.
We specialize in children with foot and leg problems, but we provide regular shoe fittings as well.
I will show you which are the best shoes for a toddler with low muscle tone, but let’s first try to identify what foot conditions your child might be experiencing.
So, one of the first things I want you to pay attention is to check your child’s posture in weight bearing.
Do you notice your child’s feet collapsing when he or she stands? (this might be a sign that your child is flat footed).
Do you notice poor alignment and your child’s ankles turning inwards or outwards?
These are also both signs that your child might have low muscle tone.
As kids begin to stand and walk, they start strengthening their muscles since they are using them in gait. However, kids with low muscle tone and pronation often develop a poor gait pattern since instead of a heel-toe pattern of walking, they use a toe-heel pattern.
Providing your children with a pair of supportive shoes will help strengthen their muscles, and provide the added support that joints need for good posture and movement.
When I helped parents with children with low muscle tone, I always recommend trying a good supportive shoe before trying an orthotic. I will watch the child walk and run to make sure he/she is walking and running straighter. If I still see any signs of overpronation, then I will try an orthotic inside the shoes.
If you have a toddler with low muscle tone, I will show you which shoes will help improve his or her gait/posture and prevent foot and knee pain in the future.
The Best Shoe Styles for Kids with Low Muscle Tone – ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
There has been one particular shoe style that has proven to be the most effective one for children with low muscle tone. I have fitted this shoe style before and I have seen the positive impact that it has in children with low muscle tone and overpronation.
Some of the features that this shoe style provides are:
- It comes with a firm heel counter: This will help correct your child’s weak ankles (in case they are rolling inwards our outwards)
- It will provide good arch support and stability: This will straighten your toddler’s feet by prevent your toddlers feet from collapsing.
- Flexible blue rubber sole with superior traction.
- It’s made out of quality leather.
Another great feature of this particular shoe style is that it comes in different widths such as medium, wide, and extra wide. This means that it will fit any type of feet, no matter how narrow or wide they are.
While some parents don’t like the idea of providing their children with shoes that come with shoelaces, they make a huge difference since they provide more support and more stability.
This shoe style will work for an infant or a child that fits below a shoe size 7. But, if you have a child with low muscle tone wearing over a shoe size 7, then take a look at the shoe style below (it provides similar features than the one mentioned above) and is available for bigger children.
Orthotics for Muscle Tone – When the Shoes are Not the Solution!
In certain cases, providing your children with a pair of good, supportive shoes will not be enough to improve their posture and help them walk and run straighter.
You might notice your child walking straighter but he/she is still complaining about foot and leg pain.
If this is the case with your child, then an orthotic might be required for extra support and to help align your child’s feet and legs to walk straighter. There is one particular orthotic that I have fitted before that has proven to improve the way children walk and run, and I have used it for several children with low muscle tone:
- This orthotic is specifically designed to provide firm arch support and cushioning,
- It will also provide biomechanics alignment by preventing over pronation and correcting your child’s ankles (making them straighter).
Now that you know which are the best shoe styles and orthotics for a child with low muscle tone, you are ready to make the most informative decision!
Experiences from other Parents – Let’s See What They are Saying…
Below you can find a conversation between myself and a parent that had a child diagnosed with low muscle tone and needed guidance on finding shoes.
Since you might be going through the same situation, you might find this information valuable. In this particular case all the child needed was a pair of good supportive shoes, but there are other several examples where the child actually needed a pair of orthotics to be fitted in the shoes.
Let’s take a look at the conversation:
I have a toddler with low muscle tone.
I live in Colorado and have no idea where to go to get the correct shoes as my almost 15-month-old daughter that is learning how to walk is having a lot of difficulty taking her first steps. She pronates and will often turn her right foot to the side (her toes point to the side) to compensate for her balance as she walks assisted holding our fingers. I took her to her physical therapist and she was diagnosed with low muscle tone.
Her feet also seem to be a little wider due to the laxity of the ligaments and muscles in her feet. I have been having her go in socks often to help build up foot strength and so that she can increase her proprioception, and we have her in physical therapy and occupational therapy (to help her overcome feeding challenges).
The occupational therapist recommended that she wears a pair of supportive shoes (but still flexible) but he didn’t know what shoe style to recommend. It’s frustrating because there is no children’s shoe store in the area that can guide me through the process of finding the correct pair of shoes for her.
Anyway, I picked up a pair of Stride Rite shoes with a flexible sole, just so she has something to protect her feet outside, but I would like to get properly fitting shoes and I have no idea where to look here in the Denver Metro area, what kinds of questions to ask, etc.
I am really worried because I want her to be in the best shoe style possible and I just can’t seem to find it. Please get back at me as soon as you can. Thank you for any help,
Marissa De Leon
The first thing I want you to do is to allow her to walk barefoot inside the house for healthy foot development. Shoes play a role when you take her to play outside, and they must be supportive but still lightweight and flexible.
Has your physical/occupational therapist recommended a pair of good supportive shoes’ Did he recommend orthotics as well?
Either way I suggest that we try a pair of good supportive shoes first and see how she reacts to them. You should try a shoe style that I have fitted before which will provide her good support and stability. This is the to-go shoe for children who are learning how to walk but need support due to foot issues such as flat feet, rolled ankles, or are dealing with low muscle tone.
You can find that shoe style here and is available in wide and extra wide widths (she might need one of these widths to accommodate her wide feet):
Take your daughter to your physical/occupation therapist as soon as you have the shoes with you and tell them to evaluate the way she is walking.
I hope this helps!
THANK YOU SO MUCH! I took her to her physical therapist and she is actually walking so much better. He said to stay away from the orthotics from now since the shoes seem to be helping her so much. I can’t believe what a difference this shoe style makes!
Thank you again for all your time, I really appreciate it!
Now let’s take a look at a different situation:
My daughter has been diagnosed with low muscle tone and the physical therapists recommended a pair of supportive shoes with orthotics. I already have the orthotics, and here is a picture so you can see what kind they are:
I just can’t seem to find a pair of shoes to fit the orthotics. At the children’s shoe store that I took my daughter to be properly fitted for shoes, they kept making her try longer shoes (since the orthotics wasn’t fitting inside the shoes), but the shoes were way too long and she kept falling down!
My daughter wears a toddler shoe size 5.5 and needs an extra wide shoe. Is there a particular shoe style that you would recommend?
We need to find a pair of shoes that are supportive, but that are also deep in order for the orthotic to fit deep inside the shoes and don’t raise your kids’ feet up. There is a particular shoe style that has proven to be the most effective one when it comes to fitting an orthotic. You can find that shoe style here:
Some of the advantages of this shoe style is how it is supportive, lightweight, DEEP, and made out of leather.
Please try this shoe style and get back at me to see how it worked.
Finally a shoe that the orthotic goes in without getting having to get a longer size. I am so happy I don’t have to keep dealing with this. The physical therapist is extremely happy with this shoe style and the way she is walking.
Thank you for all your time, you really made a difference in the way my daughter walks and runs!