Dr Aaron Wicks - Podiatrist
Toe walking just looks strange. But is it a cause for concern? The research reveals that toe walking could be a sign of something more sinister like a developmental neurological defect, which of course would be an element of concern!
However, toe walking can also occur for unknown reasons too. That is, no neurological defect. So should we treat unknown causes of toe walking? Especially if the child is not getting any pain?
There is definitive evidence to show tight calf muscles are associated with the toe walking pattern. Tight calf muscles warrant treatment as it is a positive risk factor for potential foot conditions which can present in children and can progress into adult hood.
If your child is experiencing pain with toe walking, then treatment should be sought straight away. Pain is always an indication to seek treatment and should never be overlooked as growing pains. Toe walking could in fact be a compensatory mechanism to avoid a painful heel which is quite commonly seen in kids who appear to have a “bouncy” gait.
As mentioned before, toe walking can also be a sign of something more sinister. It is important to rule these conditions out. Your podiatrist will go through a thorough medical history to ensure that none of these conditions would be contributing to the walking style. Below is a list of conditions that can potentially cause toe walking.
- Cerebral Palsy
- Charcot-Marie Tooth/ motor sensory neuropathy
- Global developmental delay
- Leg length discrepancy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Tumour of the muscle