Date of Award

Spring 1-10-2014

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Kinesiology and Health

First Advisor

Mark D. Geil, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jianhua Wu, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Yu-ping Chen, SCD

Fourth Advisor

Yong Tai Wang, Ph.D.


The aim of the current study is to investigate novel therapeutic/treatment methods and outcome measurement for children with Idiopathic Toe Walking (ITW). Fifteen typically developing (TD) children and 15 children with ITW, aged between 4 to 10 years old, participated. The participants performed a gait exam including 30 barefoot walking trials over three 4-meter walkways before and after a whole-body vibration intervention. Vibration perception threshold tests were also conducted before and after the vibration intervention. In the gait exams, each of the walking surfaces represented a different tactile stimulus and the vibration intervention included standing on a whole body vibration platform for 60 seconds. Kinematics were collected at 100 Hz with a seven-camera 3-D motion analysis system. Walking surface and vibration intervention were the independent variables. Temporal-spatial gait parameters such as velocity, cadence, step length, and step width were measured. Heel rise occurrence (HR32) and vibration perception threshold (VPT) were also calculated as dependent variables.

Walking surface significantly altered the gait parameter of both TD children and children with ITW. Vibration intervention altered the VPT scores of both TD children and children with ITW. Manipulated surface and excessive vibration may be important in the development of therapeutic/treatment methods for children with Idiopathic Toe Walking. HR32 is a novel calculation designed to distinguish on aspect of the toe-walking gait pattern. It significantly identified toe-walking patterns and quantified treatment results. Children with ITW appeared to have less toe-walking on the gravel surface. Walking on gravel surface is a potential novel method to reduce toe-walking immediately with no negative after-effects.