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Holly Willoughby health: ‘I had to have my legs stretched’ Star on childhood health issue

The mum-of-three (to Belle, eight, Harry, 10, and Chester, five) can probably relate to how worrying it can be to notice something isn’t quite right with your son or daughter. While presenting a health segment on ITV’s This Morning back in 2016, Holly had some comforting words for a concerned mum whose little one had a very familiar condition.


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“When I was a kid, my tendons were really short,” confessed Holly.

“I had both legs put in plaster for six weeks to try and stretch it out. And I had a lot of physio.

“I had a little thing put in my shoe, like a little in-step to stop the arches. My step wasn’t right.

“Rest assured, for me, having gone through that and the physio, I am absolutely fine now.”

‘Toe walking’ is usually a harmless condition – rife in toddlers learning to walk – but can become troublesome when children don’t outgrow the habit of walking on their tip toes.

The Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust confirms that it’s common for 10-18 month olds to learn to walk on their tootsies as it can help with their balance.

The health body continues to say that “this can continue up to the age of seven, where it usually resolves naturally”.

However, older children still practising such manoeuvres can experience the tightening of the calf muscle and shortening of the Achilles tendon (equinus deformity).

This results in the child not being able to put their heel to the ground.

One solution is to provide the child with a heel raised insole to encourage placement of the heel onto the floor.

Gradually, the height of the heel insole is reduced over time until the child begins to walk normally.

In a small number of cases, ‘toe walking’ can be due to underlying causes such as congenital tightness of muscle, neurological or development issues.


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For these cases it may be necessary to provide treatment such as physiotherapy and bespoke footwear or insoles.

Another option is for a child to wear a cast. This would help stretch really tight heel cordons.

Even surgery can be considered and, nowadays, severe cases are treated with Botox injections.

Poor Holly must have had it bad to be treated with physio and having to wear a cast, but the 38-year-old has since been walking with her head held high.

Having undergone treatment for ‘toe walking’ herself, and coming through the other end completely unscathed, Holly is an inspiration to all those worried mums, dads, nans and grandads who fear the worst for their little darlings (or monsters!) currently tip toeing around the house.

Joining her long-term hosting companion, Phillip Schofield, you can catch Holly tonight on ITV at 6pm.

The famed duo of This Morning will be presenting the 12th series of Dancing On Ice, starring 12 celebrities.

Contestants of the ice skating competition include: Caprice Bourret, Trisha Goddard and Joe Swash.

And new judge John Barrowman replaces sharp-tongued Jason Gardiner.

Loyal fans of the show would have already tuned into the first episode last Sunday, but people can catch-up on the first showing now available to watch on ITV Player.

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  • Posted on January 24, 2020