A Comparison of the Birth Characteristics of Idiopathic Toe Walking and Toe Walking Gait Due to Medical Reasons

Baber, S. et al. The Journal of Pediatrics. Available online: 16 January 2016

Image source: Mahalie Stackpole

Objective: To determine and compare the birth history or postnatal complications of idiopathic toe walking (ITW) and toe walking known to be associated with a medical condition.

Study design: This was a retrospective chart review of parent-reported birth histories of children who presented to a dedicated toe-walking clinic between 2010 and 2014. This cohort comprised children diagnosed with ITW and children with a medical reason for their toe-walking gait. Data were compared with Australian Perinatal statistical normative data.

Results: Ninety-five children (60 males, 63%) were diagnosed with ITW, with a mean (SD) age of 5.8 (2.9) years. Children with an ITW gait were found to have greater rates of prematurity (OR 2.4; 95% CI 1.43-4.03), greater rates of admission to a special care nursery or neonatal intensive care unit (OR 1.98; 95% CI 1.23-3.18), and lower birth weights (OR 6.6; 95% CI 3.48-12.5) than the normative population. Children with a medical reason for toe walking (n = 28, 68% males) also had greater rates of prematurity (OR 2.4; 95% CI 0.94-6.09) than the normative population and more instrumented births than the ITW cohort (OR 1.56; 95% CI 0.64-3.77). No association was found between assisted-birth intervention and the ITW cohort compared with the normative population or group with a medical cause for toe walking.

Conclusions: ITW gait was associated with greater rates of complications during and after delivery. Such complications have been associated previously as risk factors for neurologic insult affecting motor development.

View the article abstract here


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