We look after our feet, primp and prime them, we buy high-quality shoes for ourselves and we attend to any sign of problems/pain that we may feel. So it’s even more important to do the same for developing baby & toddler feet.
If you are ever in doubt about whether your child’s foot is developing normally, just pay a visit to your local podiatrist. It’s well worth the time spent now to ensure your child puts their best step forward for later in life! It is also very important to have your child’s feet checked over by your community maternal health nurse at the recommended intervals.
1. Flat feet
It is expected that infants and toddlers display flat foot posture. Children’s feet will become less flat with age as their muscles and ligaments form their medial arch. As your child masters walking, these muscles and ligaments will strengthen and the padding of fat in the arch area won’t be so noticeable. By around five years of age, you should see normal arches in both feet. A flat foot should not be a cause for concern unless it is causing pain. In that case, it is advised to visit a podiatrist where they will factor in variables such as age, weight, gender, flexibility and joint hypermobility to diagnose and treat your child’s condition.
2. Walking pigeon-toed
Many toddlers walk ‘pigeon-toed’, that is, with either one or both feet turned inwards. This is a sign that a child is still developing posture and balance and it should resolve by itself in most cases somewhere between the ages of three and five years. However, if your child is displaying this pigeon-toed walking, you should see a podiatrist just to double check that it is not being caused by an underlying condition such as hip and joint problems.
3. Symptoms that show your child may have foot problems
• toes that appear abnormally shaped
• ingrown toenails
• bunions or other deformities
• stiffness in the foot and limping
• the child complains of pain while walking, or favours one leg over another when walking
• severe pigeon toe inwards or outwards
• flat feet after five years of age
• a sudden change in the way your child walks
We believe that good quality shoes are so important for those precious baby & toddler feet. So take a bit of time to make sure they’re ok & walking around in supportive shoes. Those feet will thank you for it later in life!
Photo by Katie Emslie
Evans, A.; Nicholson, H.; Zakarias, N. (2009). “The paediatric flat foot proforma (p-FFP): improved and abridged following a reproducibility study”. Journal of Foot and Ankle Research 2: 25.
Better Health Channel and Victoria State Government – https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/healthyliving/babies-and-toddlers-0-3