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Toe Walking: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Dec 26, 2023

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Causes Of Toe Walking

Symptoms Of Toe Walking

Risk Factors Of Toe Walking

Diagnosis Of Toe Walking

Treatment Of Toe Walking

Complications Of Toe Walking

Toe Walking Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Toe walking, or walking on the balls of their feet, is a common behavior seen in toddlers just starting to walk. It passes for most children.

Toddlers usually continue to walk out of habit as they reach the toddler stage. Toe walking generally won't be a big deal because your child grows and develops regularly.

Cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorder are among the diseases that can result in toe walking.

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Causes Of Toe Walking

When a toddler first learns to walk, toe walking typically develops as a habit. On rare occasions, an underlying medical condition such as:

  • Short Achilles tendon: This tendon joins the back of the heel bone to the lower leg muscles. In case it's too short, it could prevent the heel from striking the ground.
  • Cerebral palsy: Toe walking may result from a disruption of posture, muscle tone, or movement caused by injury or abnormal development in the parts of the growing brain that regulate muscle function.
  • Muscle dystrophy: Toe walking can occasionally be brought on by this genetic condition, which causes muscle fibers to be abnormally prone to damage and degenerate over time. This diagnosis can be more likely if your child was a regular walker before learning to toe walk.
  • Autism: Toe walking has been linked to autism spectrum disorders, which affect a child's ability to communicate and engage with others.

Also Read: Perthes Disease: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Complications

Symptoms Of Toe Walking

The main and most noticeable symptom of toe walking in children is when they walk on their toes and balls of their feet. When asked to walk in a regular, flat-footed gait, the majority of young children can do so. But if your child continues to walk on their toes, you may also notice:

  • Reduced balance and coordination.
  • Several falls.
  • Having trouble putting on shoes.
  • Finding it difficult to participate in sports or other recreational activities.
  • Grievances involving physical discomfort.
  • It is challenging for them to heel walk, or walk with their toes high.

Also Read: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Complications

Risk Factors Of Toe Walking

Sometimes it happens in families: idiopathic toe walking, also known as habitual toe walking, occurs.

Diagnosis Of Toe Walking

A physical examination may reveal toe walking. In specific circumstances, the doctor may do a gait analysis or an electromyography (EMG) examination.

To perform an electromyography (EMG), a small needle equipped with electrodes is inserted into a leg muscle. The electrode measures the electrical activity of the injured nerve or muscle.

If the doctor suspects the patient has a condition like cerebral palsy or autism, they may recommend a neurological examination or developmental delay testing.

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Treatment Of Toe Walking

If your child is toe walking out of habit, treatment is not required. They may become accustomed to it. Your doctor might not watch anything but your child's gait during office visits.

When the toe walking is brought on by a physical problem, treatment possibilities include:

  • Physical therapy: Stretching the muscles in your child's legs and feet gently may help with their walking.
  • Leg splints: Every now and then, these can assist a normal walk.
  • Cast: If physical therapy or leg braces don't help, your doctor can suggest trying a series of below-the-knee casts to gradually increase the ability to elevate the toes towards the shin.
  • Toxin A from onabotulinum: Injections into the calf muscles are occasionally used to assist proper gait.
  • Surgery: If conservative approaches fail, the doctor may recommend surgery to extend the tendons or muscles at the back of the lower leg.
  • Treatment is mostly directed towards the underlying condition if the toe walking is associated with autism, cerebral palsy, or other problems.

Also Read: Wilms Tumor: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Treatment and Prevention

Complications Of Toe Walking

If a youngster walks on their toes all the time, their risk of falling can increase. It could also result in social embarrassment.

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