Effects of motor control intervention for children with idiopathic toe walking: a 5-case series

Pediatr Phys Ther. 2010 Winter;22(4):417-26. doi: 10.1097/PEP.0b013e3181f9d5b8.


Purpose: To describe and evaluate the effects of motor control intervention in young children diagnosed with idiopathic toe walking.

Methods: Five children received motor control intervention in a multiple-case series design using a nonconcurrent, variable baseline. Multiple gait measures were taken before and during the intervention phase. Pre- and posttreatment measures of gross motor development and ankle dorsiflexion range of motion were compared.

Results: During the intervention phase, heel strike frequency showed an upward slope for 1 participant, slight upward trends for 3 participants, and no change for 1 participant. Parents indicated minimal gait change within the children's regular environments. Gross motor skill scores increased but were not statistically significant. Passive ankle range of motion improved and was maintained (P = .002).

Conclusions: Presentation of children with idiopathic toe walking varies and refinement is needed for gait measures and assessment methods. Intervention improved ankle mobility, but additional components appear necessary to attain spontaneous heel-toe gait.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Foot*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / diagnosis
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / rehabilitation*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Motor Skills
  • Orthotic Devices
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / instrumentation*
  • Posture
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Toes*
  • Treatment Outcome