The Toe Walking Tool: a novel method for assessing idiopathic toe walking children

Background: The diagnosis of idiopathic toe walking (ITW) is achieved by the exclusion of all medical causes associated with toe walking. In order to identify children with this gait type, an online Toe Walking Tool questionnaire was developed that utilized questions to identify healthy idiopathic toe walkers and excluded those who toe walk as a result of a medical condition.

Method: A Delphi panel process was conducted to establish the relevance and validity of the questions. A group of 10 allied health professionals assessed 12 children utilizing the Toe Walking Tool. A kappa was calculated to determine reliability.

Results: Clinicians agreed the questionnaire was an appropriate and effective assessment tool. The tool proved valid in that no child tested who toe walked as a result of a medical condition was able to progress through the testing process. Testing group of practitioners had a Fleiss Kappa agreement of 0.928.

Conclusion: The Toe Walking Tool is a valid and reliable method of assessing children who present to the general allied health clinician with toe walking. This tool can assist with the decision of when to refer a child for further specialist investigation of their toe walking.

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