21 Feb 2017 baby's feet

Any parent or podiatrist can attest to the fact that children’s feet are constantly growing! During this time, the size of your child’s feet won’t be the only thing that changes; they will also go through a host of structural changes.

How your child’s foot develops is incredibly important, as their foot position can have a huge affect on how their knees develop. It’s fairly common for parents to see these changes occurring and worry that something is wrong. More often than not, the changes your child is going through is a normal part of their development, however, if there’s reason for concern, it’s best to contact your podiatrist.

From Birth to Age 6

The most important thing to consider as you watch your child’s feet grow, is that children’s feet aren’t just a miniature version of adult feet. When your baby is born, they will have slightly everted feet, and you will notice that their feet will be pudgy from a lot of fatty pad. This is perfectly normal, however, it can make their feet look a little flat when they first start walking.

Children from birth to about two years of age are likely to be bow legged, then when they hit around two to three their legs will take on more of a knock kneed position. Their legs will likely stay this way for around a year, after which they will start to straighten up. In most cases, their legs will straighten out by about the time they’re turning six. If you’re concerned your child’s feet and legs aren’t developing the way they should, try not be alarmed, as many children develop at different rates. However, for peace of mind, it’s worth getting a consultation from Cannington Podiatry.

It’s during this time the shape of your child’s feet will be become clear. The three main foot shapes are:

  • Tapered: their big toe is bigger than their other toes
  • Rounded: their second or third toe is longer than their big toe
  • Square: All of their toes will be roughly the same length

Ages 7+

If your child’s foot still seems flat once they hit seven years of age, it’s unlikely they will grow out of it. Once they reach this age, their foot should now resemble an adult foot, only smaller. However, your child’s feet won’t be fully developed until their teen years when they stop growing. The age at which they hit full size will vary, but is commonly at around age 14 for girls, and 16 for boys.

Common Foot Problems to Watch Out For

From basic foot ailments, to developmental issues, these are the things you should keep your eye on.

Ingrown Toenails

An ingrown toenail occurs when the nail grows into the surrounding flesh. To ensure this doesn’t happen to your toddler, cut their toenails regularly, and make sure you cut them straight across.

Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease

This is a mild viral infection that’s common among children aged ten and under. Hand, foot, and mouth disease will usually cause small spots to appear around your child’s mouth, hands, and feet, and they can become blisters.

Most of the time it clears up within a week, however, if symptoms persist, seek professional advice.

Toe Walking

A lot of toddlers aged three and under will walk on their toes, without putting much weight on their heels. This is perfectly normal, but if it persists, you might need to consult your podiatrist or GP.

In-toeing and Out-toeing

This refers to when toddlers walk with their feet turned inwards or outwards. There are a number of issues which affect the apparent in or out toeing, some of which can be appropriately managed through Podiatric intervention.

If you’re concerned your child’s feet aren’t developing how they should, contact Cannington Podiatry.