Frequently Asked Questions about Children’s Feet

Podiatrists often have to answer questions from concerned parents regarding the development and appearance of the child’s foot and lower limb. Often just knowing a little bit more about the normal development of a child can allay concerns or indicate when specialist intervention is required. The following questions are some of the most common queries we receive about the feet of children:

  • My baby has flat feet, why is this?…Most babies have flat feet due to fatty deposits under the arch of the foot. Also the posture that a baby has to adopt in order to walk gives the appearance of a flat foot.
  • My child’s feet turn inwards, why?…Often this is due to normal development. As the child ages the femur rotates back and in-toeing is corrected. This usually occurs by the age of 7. It is often comforting to explain to parents that despite a large proportion of children in-toeing a relatively small proportion of the adult population demonstrates this abnormality. If you are concerned it is best to have your child’s foot alignment checked by a registered podiatrist.
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  • Should my child wear shoes or not?…It is best to allow your child to go barefoot when possible in the early years to allow for normal development. Of course, this is only possible where there is no risk of injury. A child should not really require shoes until he/she is walking well outside.
  • How often should I change my child’s shoes?…This depends on many factors such as wear and tear and size. In general children’s feet grow two sizes per year in the first two years and then one size per year until growth is complete. A podiatrist can check shoe fit and wear during a general appointment; he/she can also recommend shoe shops which employ specially trained children’s shoe fitters. Top tip; there should always be a thumbs width (your child’s) between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe.
  • My child is knock-kneed what should I do?…This is usually nothing to worry about and usually resolves by approximately 7 years of age. Often a child’s foot adapts to this knee position by rolling inwards (pronating). If this is the case for your child a podiatrist should be contacted in order to prevent this pronation from becoming excessive. This may be done simply by giving footwear advice or by providing a supportive insole or orthoses.
  • When is insole intervention generally needed?…If your child is constantly tripping/falling/avoiding long walks or complaining of tired/painful legs this is when insole/orthoses are considered (see this blog for more information). They can also be considered even if your child is asymptomatic when he/she is at their end range of motion (assessed by podiatrist) and could be causing long term structural damage.

If you have any concerns about your child’s development I would recommend that you make an appointment to see one of our podiatrists as soon as possible. We are often able to spot abnormalities at a very early stage and prevent them from progressing to become lifelong problems. So if you have any questions or simply want us to check over your child’s development and posture then book an appointment at The Footcare Centre 01932 849373 or alternatively book online.

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