Toe walking is common among children who are learning to walk. In children with this gait pattern, the heels do not contact the ground because the child is walking on the balls of their feet. Most children outgrow this walking pattern by the age of two, but others do not. There are a variety of reasons why a child continues toe walking after this age. In older children, it could be a symptom that requires further evaluation by a medical professional. Some adults toe walk due to underlying conditions, including neurological issues.
Physicians classify toe walking in four ways. They first evaluate the child’s symptoms and then classify the gait according to neurological, orthopedic, developmental, or idiopathic causes. Some children may show no signs of medical conditions but insist on walking on their toes past the age of two. Others may have underlying physical issues that cause toe walking. Recent research suggests a genetic link in some cases.
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