Toe walking in children


During a physical examination, toe walking may be noted, prompting further investigation such as gait analysis or electromyography (EMG). EMG involves inserting a thin needle electrode into a leg muscle to measure its electrical activity, useful in diagnosing conditions like cerebral palsy or autism. If developmental delays are suspected, neurological exams or testing may also be recommended by the doctor.


If your child is habitually toe walking, no specific treatment is usually required, as they are likely to naturally outgrow this habit. Your doctor may choose to observe your child’s gait during regular office visits.

In cases where a physical issue is causing toe walking, potential treatment options may involve:

  • Leg braces or splints: These aids may be beneficial in encouraging a more typical gait.
  • Physical therapy: Delicate stretching of the leg and foot muscles can potentially enhance your child’s walking pattern.
  • Serial casting: If physical therapy or leg braces prove ineffective, your doctor may propose a series of below-the-knee casts to gradually enhance the ability to flex the toes toward the shin.
  • Onabotulinumtoxin: Injections into the calf muscles are occasionally utilized to support the development of a normal gait.
  • Surgery: If conservative treatments are unsuccessful, surgery to lengthen the muscles or tendons in the back of the lower leg might be recommended by the doctor.

If toe walking is linked to cerebral palsy, autism, or other issues, the treatment centers around addressing the root cause or underlying condition.