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Toe-walking, or walking on the balls of the feet occurs very early, as your child is beginning to learn how to walk. Most children will cease to toe- walk, but sometimes this can occur with neuromuscular diseases such as:
- Cerebral palsy
- Muscular dystrophy
- Muscular atrophy
Some purely muscular causes may be involved, such as a tight Achilles tendon, and in some cases an autistic child may toe walk. The walking gait becomes imbalanced and awkward, therefore it is important to get this examined by a podiatrist if you are worried about your child's toe- walking habits, to exclude any concerning causes.
It is important to address, this as soon as practicable as additional problems may occur which are secondary to this type of gait. There are different types which consist of fully compensated, partially compensated and uncompensated. Those patients that have underlying neurological conditions are generally uncompensated as there is no range of motion within the ankle, subtalor and midtarsal joints. Henceforth, the weight is distributed on the forefoot, resulting in an unstable and apropulsive gait. There may pressure lesions across the metatarsal heads and lesions across the clawing of the toes.