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Idiopathic Toe-Walking

Have We Progressed in our Knowledge of the Causality and Treatment of this Gait Type?

Cylie M. Williams BASci (Pod), PhD, Paul Tinley PhD1, and Barry Rawicki MBBS2
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  • 1 Department of Community Health, Charles Sturt University, Albury, New South Wales, Australia.
  • | 2 Victorian Paediatric Rehabilitation Service, Monash Health, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.
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Background

Idiopathic toe-walking (ITW) is a condition commonly seen by podiatric physicians. Because a toe-walking gait style is also caused by or associated with many other medical conditions, podiatric physicians should pay particular attention to ensuring an accurate diagnosis. There are many reported treatment options available for ITW. Therefore, a literature review was conducted to determine what treatment options are supported by the evidence as having the best long-term effect on ITW gait.

Methods

After extraction of relevant articles, 21 manuscripts reporting treatment options for ITW gait were appraised against the levels of evidence.

Results

From these articles, there was no single treatment option reported as having a long-term effect on the gait of children with ITW. There was support in the literature for surgical interventions, serial casting, and the use of botulinum toxin type A. There was limited evidence that footwear or orthoses changed the gait pattern.

Conclusions

This review updates the knowledge of podiatric physicians, enhances how children who present with this gait style can be managed, and highlights areas for future research.

Allied Health Research Unit, Monash Health, Cheltenham, Victoria, Australia.

Corresponding author: Cylie M. Williams, BASci (Pod) PhD, Allied Health Research Unit, Crns Warrigal and Kingston Rds, Cheltenham, VIC 3192, Australia. (E-mail: cylie.williams@monash.edu)