If your child is toe walking out of habit, treatment isn't needed. He or she is likely to outgrow the habit. Your doctor may simply monitor your child's gait during regular office visits. If a physical problem is contributing to toe walking, treatment options may include:
- Physical therapy. Gentle stretching of the leg and foot muscles may improve your child's gait.
- Leg braces or splints. Sometimes leg braces or splints help promote a normal gait.
- Serial casting. If physical therapy or leg braces aren't helpful, your doctor may suggest trying a series of below-the-knee casts to progressively improve the ability to bring the toes toward the shin.
- Surgery. If conservative treatments fail, the doctor may recommend surgery to lengthen the muscles or tendons at the back of the lower leg.
If the toe walking is associated with cerebral palsy, autism or other problems, treatment focuses on the underlying condition.
Mar. 22, 2012
- Solan MC, et al. Idiopathic toe walking and contractures of the triceps surae. Foot Ankle Clinics of North America. 2010;15:297.
- Williams CM, et al. Idiopathic toe walking and sensory processing dysfunction. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research. 2010;3:16.
- 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 Jan. 23, 2012.
- JAMA patient page: Muscular dystrophy. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2011;306:2526.
- Autism fact sheet. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/autism/detail_autism.htm. Accessed Jan. 23, 2012.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Jan. 23, 2012.