Effect of persistent toe walking on ankle equinus. Analysis of 60 idiopathic toe walkers

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  • 1 New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, USA.
  • | 2 New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, USA.
  • | 3 New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, USA.
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Sixty idiopathic toe walkers (age range 1 to 15 years) were evaluated to determine the natural history of toe-to-toe gait and the relationship between the range of ankle dorsiflexion and increasing age. The majority of toe walkers had a normal birth weight (average 7.06 pounds), walked on time (average 11.14 months), began toe walking immediately (87%), stood plantigrade (90%), were able to demonstrate a heel-toe gait (88%), and toe walked intermittently (68%). Forty-six percent of all toe walkers were found to have 0 degree or less of passive ankle dorsiflexion. Equinus toe walkers (mean dorsiflexion -5.2 degrees) had significantly less dorsiflexion than the remaining toe walkers (mean dorsiflexion 16.9 degrees; p < 0.01). An average of 12 degrees of dorsiflexion was resent in the 1-to 2-year age group, which gradually diminished to -4 degrees in the 6- to 15-year age group. It appears that there may be a relationship between persistent toe walking and the development of ankle equinus in some children and therefore interventions should be considered to inhibit the toe walking progression.