Idiopathic Toe Walking: Family Predisposition and Gender Distribution

Foot Ankle Spec. 2016 Oct;9(5):417-22. doi: 10.1177/1938640016656780. Epub 2016 Jul 1.


Current literature is inconsistent concerning the causes and the frequency of idiopathic toe walking (ITW). Available studies vary widely in their results. The aim of this study is to supply gender-related data particularly regarding the genetic influence on toe walking. Methods The ITW patterns of 836 children were recorded and analyzed during a period of 4 years. Questionnaires and clinical measurements were evaluated along with clinical tests, assessing the occurrence and severity of toe walking. Information about the incidence of toe-walkers in the family was recorded. Results Of the 836 toe-walkers, 64% were boys and 42% had a positive family history (PF-TW). About 60% of the PF-TW children had fathers with a positive toe-walking pattern. PF-TW children were on average half a year younger than children with a negative family predisposition (NF-TW). Conclusions This study shows that a genetic component might be factor in toe walking. PF-TW children were more severely affected in all performed clinical tests than NF-TW children.

Levels of evidence: Prognostic, Level IV.

Keywords: family history; forefoot; genetic; heredity; idiopathic; toe walking; walking.

Publication types

  • Observational Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Gait / genetics*
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pedigree*
  • Sex Distribution
  • Toes / physiology
  • Walking / physiology*