Literature Review of Idiopathic Toe Walking: Etiology, Prevalence, Classification, and Treatment

Foot Ankle Spec. 2017 Aug;10(4):337-342. doi: 10.1177/1938640016687370. Epub 2017 Jan 16.


Purpose: The main objective of this review is to gather the information available about idiopathic toe walking (ITW), its prevalence and classification, and possible therapeutic approaches. In addition, this review aims to clarify the differences between idiopathic toe walkers and tiptoe walkers with underlying neurological or muscle deficiency as primary conditions. Understanding its causes and learning to make a differential diagnosis will help determine the adequate therapeutic approach.

Methods: This is a review of different articles and case studies from 1967 to 2016. The information was gathered to update and unify all the information about ITW that has been published.

Conclusion: The literature offers limited research regarding the possible etiology, prevalence, classification, and evaluation of ITW. This review puts together all the information regarding the etiology, prevalence, classifications, evaluation, and treatment of ITW.

Levels of evidence: Level IV.

Keywords: classification; etiology; evaluation; idiopathic toe walking; prevalence; review; tiptoe walking pattern; treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A / therapeutic use
  • Casts, Surgical
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Foot Orthoses
  • Gait / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Neuromuscular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Physical Examination / methods
  • Physical Therapy Modalities
  • Prevalence
  • Toes / physiology*
  • Walking / classification
  • Walking / physiology*


  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Botulinum Toxins, Type A