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.
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.