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Written by Emel Gerdaneri.

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What is Toe Walking (Idiopathic Toe Walking) ?

Idiopathic toe walking, called toe walking medicine, is quite common in toddlers. As they get older, most children turn this into a normal gait. Some kids keep it up and make it a habit. As long as children are growing and developing normally, toe walking is unlikely to be a cause for concern.

But toe walking can sometimes be caused by certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorder.

Featured Doctors & Clinics

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18
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Muharrem Inan, MD
Orthopedics and Traumatology
Besiktas / Istanbul
(1)
"We went to Dr. Muharrem Inan for lengthening..."
My Happy SVG
74
Enquiry
Serkan Gurcan, MD
Orthopedics and Traumatology
Sisli / Istanbul
(2)
"I was short, very unhappy, I should have grown..."
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Enquiry
M. Nurullah Ermis, MD
Orthopedics and Traumatology
Atasehir / Istanbul
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Cengiz Sen, MD
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Kucukcekmece / Istanbul
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Toe walking is diagnosed when walking on toes and taking steps without touching the ground with the heel. If the child is still walking on tiptoe after the age of 2, it is necessary to see a specialist doctor. If the child also has tight leg muscles, stiffness in the Achilles tendon or lack of muscle coordination, a doctor's control is absolutely necessary.

Toe walking is a habit that develops when a child learns to walk. In a few cases, toe walking may be considered to be an underlying condition:

A Short Achilles Tendon

The Achilles tendon is a structure that connects the lower leg muscles to the back of the heel bone. When it is too short, it can prevent the heel from touching the ground.

Cerebral Palsy

Toe walking can result from impaired movement, muscle tissue, or posture caused by injury or abnormal development in the parts of the immature brain that control muscle function.

Muscular Dystrophy

Toe walking sometimes occurs in a genetic disease referred to as muscular dystrophy, in which muscle fibers tend to become unusually damaged and weaken over time. This diagnosis may be more likely if the child walked normally before tiptoeing.

Autism

Walking on toes may be linked to autism spectrum disorders that affect a child's ability to communicate and interact with others.

Also known as idiopathic toe walking, this habit can increase a child's risk of falling. It can also result in a social stigma. He may be ridiculed by his friends for walking like flying.

This will be understood during the physical examination. In some cases, the doctor may perform an examination known as gait analysis or electromyography (EMG). During EMG, a thin needle with an electrode is inserted into a muscle in the leg. The electrode measures the electrical activity in the affected nerve or muscle.

The doctor may also recommend a neurological exam or testing for developmental delays if they suspect a condition such as cerebral palsy or autism.

If the child does this out of habit, there is no need for treatment. It is likely to overtake the habit.

If there is a physical problem that causes walking on the toes, treatment options are as follows:

Physical Therapy For Toe Walking

Gentle stretching of the leg and foot muscles can improve a child's gait. Leg splints can sometimes help encourage a normal gait. If physical therapy or leg braces don't help, the doctor may recommend trying a series of below-the-knee casts to gradually improve the ability to bring the toes to the shin.

Botox For Toe Walking

Botox injections into the calf muscles are sometimes used to help support a normal gait.

Surgery For Toe Walking

If conservative treatments fail, the doctor may recommend surgery to lengthen the muscles or tendons in the back of the lower leg.
If toe walking is associated with cerebral palsy, autism, or other problems, treatment focuses on the underlying condition. In this case, the help of a psychiatrist should be sought.

Written on 09/06/2022

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Last Update: 30/06/2022

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