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An Important Guide For Children’s Feet

11 Jan 2016 | Liam Rothwell

As a parent, we all want the best for our children in order to ensure they’re safe, healthy and happy. As children grow they reach developmental milestones. Some reach them early and some reach them a bit later but these guidelines are put in place to be just that, a guide on when a majority of children reach them. We have also included a few common injuries that developing children face as they grow.

Infants: 0-1 year

During the first year of life, a baby’s feet only really needs protection from the cold. They may begin the early stages of walking and shouldn’t wear shoes for this unless they are outside on a dangerous surface.
Toes will tend to claw over when a baby is stood up as the feet try and stabilise themselves upon weight-bearing. Their nails will grow quickly and need constant trimming to avoid them curling under the toes.
It is encouraged to allow your baby to kick and play freely so as to naturally develop lower limb coordination and musculature.

Toddler: 1-3

Toddlers tend to walk independently between 10-18 months. It is recommended that shoes are not worn inside so as to allow the feet to adapt to the sensory feedback from the ground which promotes natural development of foot and leg structures. When outside shoes are recommended to protect the feet from unfavourable surfaces. Some features that are important in shoes are:

  • a rounded toe box to match the foot
  • enough length and width to accommodate the foot and allow the toes to spread
  • a firm comfortable fit so the foot doesn’t move around or slip out of the shoe
  • laces, velcro, a buckle or a strap so that the shoe is held firmly on the foot
  • a flexible flat sole
  • a supportive heel counter

When children start to walk their feet will be flat. Throughout their walking milestones, children may walk at times with their feet pointed inwards (in-toeing) or outwards (out-toeing) or even on their tiptoes. These are typical developmental stages and can sometimes take time for children to grow out of. Arch development will usually occur between 4 to 10 years of age. If there is any concern about foot posture, walking patterns, your child keeping up with peers or pain, you should see a podiatrist.

Children: 4-12

During these years children become a lot more active. They participate in sports and grow very quickly. Some children experience foot and leg pains with this growth. Shoes should be checked regularly to ensure that is not too small for these rapidly growing feet, especially with boys. It is sometimes common for active children to experience pain around the back of the heel during and after sport. This condition is known as Severs’ disease and is treated quickly and effectively by podiatrists.
Children also participate regularly in swimming which can expose them to contracting the human papillomavirus (HPV) which causes warts. It is recommended that children wear thongs or sandals when showering to protect them from this virus. Warts are successfully treated at our clinic with Cantharone.

Teenagers: 13-19

As teenagers, the feet continue to grow rapidly and shoes should always be checked and fitted properly, especially school shoes. Teenagers tend to take over their nail cutting responsibilities and this can sometimes result in poor trimming techniques and ingrowing toenails. For those cases that don’t resolve we recommend surgery to permanently resolve the problem.

If you would like more advice on children’s feet, please contact us for more information on 9753 6222