Idiopathic toe walking (ITW) is a term used to describe a condition where a child walks on their toes without any known medical reason. While toe walking can be a normal developmental stage for some children, persistent toe walking may require professional intervention. In this blog post, we will explore what idiopathic toe walking is, why it’s essential to seek physical therapy, and the various treatment options available.
Idiopathic Toe Walking refers to a walking pattern where a child walks on the toes or balls of the feet, without any underlying neurological, orthopedic, or medical cause. The term “idiopathic” means that the cause is unknown. Heel strike should start about 4-5 months after a child starts walking independently and you should see a heel strike by 2 years of age. ITW is typically observed in children between the ages of 3 and 10.
The primary symptom of ITW is walking on the toes or balls of the feet. Other signs may include:
Physical therapy plays a crucial role in the assessment and treatment of ITW.
While this could be true, it may not be worth waiting to see. There are some studies that show that 50% of idiopathic toe walking will resolve by age 5 and 80% by age 10, however we are unable to predict which kids will cease toe walking without intervention. Additionally, toe walking can impact other gross motor skills and quality of life. Overall, the longer a child toe walks the more likely they are to end up with calf tightness that cannot be changed with regular stretching.
Idiopathic Toe Walking is a complex condition that requires a comprehensive understanding and a multidisciplinary approach. Physical therapy is vital in the management of ITW, offering a range of treatment options tailored to the individual needs of each child. By seeking professional help early, families can ensure that their child receives the best possible care, maximizing their potential for a healthy and active life.
Girl Fit Physical Therapy is a supportive, fun, and athletic environment for children ages 5 and up to perform their physical therapy for idiopathic toe walking. Our one-on-one physical therapy treatment model provides the highest quality of care and our group strength and flexibility classes (6th grade and up) can be a fun supplement to traditional physical therapy care. As healthcare professionals dedicated to improving patient care, we are here to support you and your child every step of the way.
To schedule an appointment with one of our physical therapists, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 617-618-9290.