Toe-walking research presented at the European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society congress 2023

Facing a grilling from the chairs and audience about our Toe-Walking research study

Toe-walking is a very common reason for referral to Paediatric Orthopaedic services. Whilst up to 5% of children may walk on their toes there is very little research out there on this topic. I am part of a collaboration in the United Kingdom interesting in undertaking more high-quality research in idiopathic toe-walking. This collaborative is called FOOTT-UK (Focus on Orthopaedic Treatment of Toe-walking in the United Kingdom)

I recently had the honour to present some of our work at the European Paediatric Orthopaedic Society Annual Congress in Krakow, Poland ( In our prospective multicentre study across 12 sites in the UK we collected data on over 150 children who walked on their toes and compared this to healthy control subjects. Our main findings were that firstly toe-walkers have significantly impaired health-related quality of life compared to healthy controls (assessed using the Oxford Ankle Foot Questionnaire for Children). Secondly that the amount of tightness they have in their calf is highly correlated to the symptoms they may be getting.

Whilst this research is just a snapshot of children presenting to their orthopaedic departments, it serves as a rationale to treat toe-walkers and improve any tightness they may have in their calf. The next step is to evaluate the efficacy of treatments that we already offer!

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