Is idiopathic toe walking really idiopathic? The motor skills and sensory processing abilities associated with idiopathic toe walking gait

Cylie M Williams, Paul Tinley, Michael Curtin, Suzanne Wakefield, Sharon Nielsen
Journal of Child Neurology 2014, 29 (1): 71-8
This study aimed to investigate any differences between the motor skills and sensory processing abilities of children between the ages of 4 and 8, who do and do not have an idiopathic toe walking gait. Children in each cohort were tested with a number of norm referenced assessments. A total of 60 children participated, 30 within each cohort. Those with an idiopathic toe walking gait were found to have different Sensory Profile quadrant scores (P = .002), poorer performance on the Bruininks-Oseretsky Test of Motor Proficiency (P ≤ .001), a lower vibration perception threshold (P = .001), and poorer performance on the Standing Walking Balance subtest of the Sensory Integration and Praxis Test (P = .047), compared with non-toe walking peers. Although this research does not give a causative factor for toe walking gait, it provides a number of theories as to why this gait may not be idiopathic in nature.

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