Typically, toe walking is simply a habit that develops when a child learns to walk. In a few cases, toe walking is caused by an underlying condition, such as:

  • A short Achilles tendon. This tendon links the lower leg muscles to the back of the heel bone. If it's too short, it can prevent the heel from touching the ground.
  • Cerebral palsy. Toe walking can be caused by cerebral palsy — a disorder of movement, muscle tone or posture that is caused by injury or abnormal development in the immature brain, most often before or surrounding birth.
  • Muscular dystrophy. Toe walking sometimes occurs in muscular dystrophy, a genetic disease in which muscle fibers are unusually susceptible to damage and weaken over time. This diagnosis may be more likely if your child initially walked normally before starting to toe walk.
  • Autism. Toe walking has also been linked to autism, a complex group of disorders that affect a child's ability to communicate and interact with others.
Mar. 22, 2012

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