Toe Walking: When Do We Need to Worry?

Curr Probl Pediatr Adolesc Health Care. 2017 Jul;47(7):156-160. doi: 10.1016/j.cppeds.2017.06.004. Epub 2017 Jul 15.


Toe walking refers to the lack of heel strike during the stance phase of the gait cycle. It is a common variation of normal gait development in children. Persistent toe walking past 2-3 years of age warrants further evaluation as toe walking can be associated with cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, and autism spectrum disorders. The diagnosis of idiopathic toe walking is a diagnosis of exclusion used for children with persistent toe walking and no associated medical condition. Despite variable pathophysiology, the treatment of toe walking has similarities across diagnoses as it is focused on the maintenance of range of motion through the ankle.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Joint / physiopathology
  • Autistic Disorder / complications
  • Autistic Disorder / diagnosis
  • Cerebral Palsy / complications
  • Cerebral Palsy / diagnosis
  • Child, Preschool
  • Gait / physiology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / etiology*
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / physiopathology
  • Gait Disorders, Neurologic / therapy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscular Dystrophies / complications
  • Muscular Dystrophies / diagnosis
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Toes*