Idiopathic Toe Walking Treatment Methods

Date of Award

Summer 6-16-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics



First Advisor

Darren Wiens

Second Advisor

Lana Huberty


Children’s walking and gait mechanics are ever changing as they are growing. Toe walking behavior is considered normal until the age of two. If there is no underlying condition contributing to the toe walking pattern, it’s considered idiopathic in nature. There are many different treatment options available ranging from conservative methods such as orthotic use to surgical intervention.

Research Question: The purpose of this review is to compare and contrast the studies conducted on three treatment methods: ankle foot orthotics, serial casting, and surgical lengthening intervention. These three options seem to be the three most common treatment methods but have never been compared together in a single review.

Participants would be selected based on inclusion criteria into two treatment groups. One group would receive serial casting for 6 weeks and then proceed into ankle-foot orthotics after serial casting was completed. The other treatment group would receive ankle-foot orthotics without serial casting. The third treatment group would be a patient population that has already been selected for surgical intervention to resolve their toe walking behavior. All three groups would be tested for range of motion at hips, knees and ankles, six-minute walk test, and complete a walk on a Gait Rite mat that will collect more data about their gait mechanics. Tests will be completed at the beginning, six months into the study, and at the conclusion of the study. Comparisons will be made on all the data collected from each participant group to determine which treatment produced the best results.

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