ASSHOLE IN GRADE 9:
“You walk like you have a tampon stuck up your butt or something!”
You have no idea how horribly embarrassed I was.
It was September 1998; on the school bus we took together. I had known this guy since Kindergarten and he was being so mean, a total asshole, whom all the popular girls loved.
I didn’t deserve his mistreatment, especially on the school bus. I was already insecure and overwhelmed with the cliques of High School and the overnight changes some of my friends from Elementary School had made like drinking, smoking and dating older guys, sex stuff.
I hadn’t even kissed a guy yet so hearing this “popular guy” use the words “Tampon” and “your butt” in reference to how I walked really fucked with my head, like no guy is ever going to want me as his girlfriend because if he thinks that, they all do.
This guy I grew up with; he was always trying to embarrass me somehow weather it be about my small chest and baby fat. I remained relatively silent on the bus because I didn’t want to provoke him. I don’t know why he did it but if he was looking to “hit the spot,” he hit it alright.
He knew what to say to hurt me because he knew “Everyone” had always either made fun of how I walked or asked questions because I’ve always walked on my tip toes.
His comment however, was a new low, despite knowing I’ve walked this way my entire life. We all know how mean kids can be so I’d say if your child does walk this way, they could very well be made fun of and we all know how bad words can hurt.
My Lifelong Affliction/Addiction Of Tip-Toe Walking…..
When I try to walk flat footed, it looks like I am bouncing up and down because I’m constantly fighting the urge to walk “normal” which for me, is on my toes.
Now I MUST walk on my tip toes most of the time otherwise my Achilles’ tendons ache, my shins splint and my lower back will hurt. It requires a lot of effort and focus on my part to walk flat footed.
Some “Kids” can be mean MF’s when they really want to be but it is something I’ve dealt with my whole life, starting off with innocent questions like:
“Do you walk like that because you want to be taller or something?”
“Do you walk like that because you want to be a Ballerina?”
“Is there something wrong with your shoes?”
“You walk funny.”
Obviously, all of the girls laughed at his critique of my toe walking which made it worse, especially when we got off the bus and a few of them tried to mimic the way I walked. By mid-afternoon, people were pointing at me and laughing.
It was just so awful. Thank god Google didn’t exist because then the kids could have found an article like This One and I’m sure worse taunts would have been had.
YOU: “MY KID DOES THIS TOO!”
If your kid does walk on their tip toes and you are worried about it, have it checked out but DO NOT freak out or believe these types of diagnoses until it is actually Confirmed because googling this will come up with various suggestions such as this one:
“We often see some of these symptoms in children with; Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Muscular Dystrophy.
However, there are several mainstream children that may struggle with toe walking and vestibular issues as well.”
– Thank you Scary Internet Searches
Thankfully, most people in my life has found my affliction “cute” but I would highly recommend seeking help if your child does walk tip-toe past the age of 2.5/3.
I have permanent damage from walking this way. The only way to fix it now would be surgery where they take my Achilles’ tendon, cut it, stretch it and hope to god it all works out. I have NO PLANS to ever do this surgery because there is no guarantee of correction and it could actually cause MORE damage.
My mother was always told “she will grow out of it” when she asked the Family Doctor…But that never happened, it got worse as I aged, especially during my Competitive Dance Years
My family would always try to make me walk flat footed by making comments when they saw me walk or putting their hands on my shoulders to naturally push my feet flat on the ground. None of that worked though.
Once I was able to wear heels, there was no going back. There was no incentive to try and walk flat footed any more because it felt natural to wear high heels all the time so further damage was done from that alone.
So yes, tip toe walking CAN be serious and damage your feet, tendons, knees, etc. but I would classify myself as an extreme case due to LIFELONG tip toe walking. If caught early and treated, it can be fixed.
The “Official” Diagnosis:
A few years ago, I began seeing an Osteopath after suffering extreme aches and pains in my hips, knees, legs and back.
By the way, Osteopathy is NOT cheap; it’s like $50 a session which lasts 20 minutes. Considering that, the countless shoes I’ve ruined and other therapies; this has been an expensive problem!
Fix your problems before they become Expensive!
-Mommy the Banker
Of course I believed it could have something to do with the way I walked, and that was confirmed by the Osteopath.
It was a quick diagnosis: untreated Development Dysplasia of the Hip which usually occurs at birth.
Basically, one of my legs is longer than the other and so walking tip toed allowed me to balance out this irregularity. Ironically, my 3 year old also walks Tip Toed (ugh I know) but she does not have this condition.
She is simply copying Mommy so now I really have to focus on walking flat footed for her sake, and I have improved with:
- Treatment from the Osteopath; stretching out my legs/hips and trying to correct my uneven pelvis.
- Wearing proper footwear like Running Shoes or flats with an elevated heel, provides some arch support and keeps me off my toes. (I ruined countless shoes growing up because I’d try to walk tip toe and my heels would ruin the backs of the shoe within days.)
- EXTREME FOCUS: this sounds easy but it’s the hardest. Really though, sometimes that’s all I can do in order to walk flat footed.
I wouldn’t say I suffer from any emotional damage or insecurity from the way I walk or how mean some kids were because for every taunt I received, there would be an endearing compliments like:
“Wow, you have really toned calves! What is your secret?” Or “You have a really cute bounce in your step.”
ME: “Would you like to hear a story?”