MONDAY, July 23 (HealthDay News) -- As many as one in 20 children may predominantly walk on their toes in early childhood. Youngsters who have developmental delays or neuropsychiatric disorders, however, are more likely to walk on their toes, according to a new study from Sweden.
Toe-walking is a condition where children walk on their toes instead of using a typical gait. Certain conditions, such as cerebral palsy, can cause toe-walking, according to background information in the study. But, sometimes, toe-walking occurs in children who appear to be healthy otherwise. This is called idiopathic, or habitual, toe-walking.
In the Swedish study, at 5.5 years old, more than 40 percent of children with developmental delays or neuropsychiatric disorders, such as an autism spectrum disorder, were currently or had been toe-walkers.
Although the number of children with "a neuropsychiatric disorder in this study is too small for conclusions," the authors reported, the study "confirms earlier findings that toe-walking has a high prevalence among children with a cognitive [or mental] disorder."
And, they noted that toe-walking in otherwise healthy children often resolves on its own. By 5.5 years, "more than half of the children have spontaneously ceased to walk on their toes," they concluded.
Results of the study were released online July 23, in advance of publication in the August print issue of Pediatrics.
To get an idea of the prevalence of toe-walking, and the natural course of the condition, Drs. Pahr Engstrom and Kristina Tedroff of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm reviewed data on 5.5-year-old children living in Blekinge County, Sweden.
There were almost 1,500 youngsters included in the study, including 35 children who were seen at a clinic for children with special needs. Seventeen of these children had developmental delays or neuropsychiatr
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