Walking on the toes or the ball of the foot, also known as toe walking, is fairly common in children who are just beginning to walk. Most children outgrow toe walking. Kids who continue toe walking beyond the toddler years often do so out of habit. As long as your child is growing and developing normally, toe walking on its own is unlikely to be a cause for concern.
Toe walking is sometimes the result of cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy or another generalized disease of nerve and muscle. Children with autism also may walk on their toes or the balls of their feet, but many do not.
March 26, 2015
- Oetgen ME, et al. Idiopathic toe walking. Journal of the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. 2012;20:292.
- Engstrom P, et al. The prevalence and course of idiopathic toe-walking in 5-year-old children. Pediatrics. 2012;130:279.
- Williams CM, et al. The toe walking tool: A novel method for assessing idiopathic toe walking children. Gait & Posture. 2010;32:508.
- Cerebral palsy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/cerebral_palsy/detail_cerebral_palsy.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.
- Muscular dystrophy: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/md/detail_md.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.
- Autism fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed March 2, 2015.
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