Are you aware of some of the common foot problems in children? Did you know that other than size, children’s feet differ from those of adults, as they are not yet fully formed?
At six months of age, the foot is still mostly cartilage; in fact, the last bone doesn’t begin to form until children are about three years old. However, by 18 years of age, most of the bones are fully formed.
In this blog post, we look at some common foot problems in children.
Common Foot Problems in Children
Baby feet only need protection in the cooler weather. Baby-grows with feet, socks, or small, soft natural fibre shoes should be used to keep little feet warm. They should always be loose around your baby’s feet.
Making time for your baby to kick freely will help with the development of the muscles in the legs and feet.
Children usually begin to walk at any time between 10 and 20 months of age. It’s important to remember that each child is unique. Therefore, they will move through the developmental stages at their own pace. Children also roll, crawl, walk and run in their own time and at their own pace.
When your child first begins to walk, shoes should only be used when protection is needed from the ground. Allowing children to go barefoot or to wear very soft shoes helps the foot to typically develop and assists in strengthening muscles.
Sometimes children walk with their feet pointed inwards (in-toeing), or outwards (out-toeing). In most cases, these variations in walking are normal. Most children will grow out of these walking styles by the age of two. However, it can sometimes take until the age of 12. If your child is not keeping up with their friends, then we may be able to help.
Children under the age of three may sometimes walk on their tip-toes and this is a typical developmental stage. However, we recommend that any child still walking on their tip-toes (toe walking) over the age of three should be assessed by We Fix Feet.
A child’s foot grows in length and changes in shape with growth. Arch development is an individual thing and arch height or a lack of an arch does not always indicate that a child will have problems with their feet. If your child has pain or has one flat foot that differs from the other foot, then we can assist.
Due to rapid growth in length and width while young, frequent changes in the size of shoes and socks may be necessary. Undertake a size check with your child at least every two months up to the age of three, every four months up to the age of five, and every six months from five years upwards.
Heel pain in Children
Heel pain may also occur in growing children; usually between the ages of 8-14, and can be worse during, or straight after sporting activities.
If your child is experiencing pain at the back of the heel that limits their activity or causes them to limp, please visit us. We will be able to determine whether or not the heel pain is related to the developmental process and give advice about ways to alleviate symptoms.
Skins and nails
Problems with the skin and nails on your child’s feet may occur from time to time. Some conditions (ingrown toenails, Athlete’s foot, and warts) require treatment from us, while others may be helped by changes in hygiene or shoes.
Children also tend to be more susceptible to warts than adults. A plantar wart (verruca) is often on the sole of the foot and appears to be hard and flat, with a rough surface and well-defined boundaries. If the wart is causing discomfort, we can help with this with our range of effective verruca treatments.
Shoes should, above all, protect your children’s feet.
How do you choose the correct footwear for your child?
- Always have both feet measured for length and width.
- The shoe should fit the natural shape of the foot, especially around the toes.
- The toe of the shoe should allow the toes to move freely. They should not be squashed from the top or the sides. Ensure there is about 1cm growing room between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
- Shoes should fit comfortably around the heel and not be too loose or too tight.
- Having shoes fitted by a store with trained Shoe Fitters can help ensure the correct size and shape. This will help keep little feet running and jumping. The Little Shoe Company in Beeston will be happy to help.
If you want your child’s feet measured professionally, we would recommend The Little Shoe Company, who are specialist shoe fitters based near our clinic in Beeston.