Your growing child’s feet and legs

By the time you bring your precious bundle home from the hospital, you would have already examined every toe and may have some questions about the posture of his feet and legs. Out-toeing and flat feet, the most common causes of concern, are usually nothing to worry about. In-toeing may be the result of some orthopaedic condition and may need to be checked by your paediatrician or physiotherapist. Taking care of any problem in the early stages can prevent abnormalities when your child gets older.

Most children begin to walk around twelve months, but it is not unusual to see some beginning around sixteen or even twenty months. Your child will not walk until his foot muscles are developed enough for him to do so, and trying to force him to walk before he is ready is unwise. When he does begin, you want to ensure he has the right type of footwear. Socks or booties are fine for in the house, or better still have him go barefooted. Walking on sand or grass barefooted also helps to develop the muscles in the feet, but caution is necessary to avoid cuts and bruises.

Wearing the right type of shoes is essential to the proper development of your child’s feet. There should be about half a finger width between the longest toe and the tip of the shoe, so the child can wiggle his toes freely. As he grows, his shoes will need to be changed often. Second-hand shoes should never be worn, as these can lead to deformity and/or transmit infection. If your child plays a sport that involves a great deal of running, make sure he has the right footwear.

A child’s feet are unstable and bones soft, therefore neglecting his feet can lead to serious complications in other parts of his body, such as his legs and back. The child with foot problems can have poor posture. A lack of complaint does not mean there is nothing wrong.

If you notice any gait abnormality or your child’s feet turn in or out, please consult us early on.