Baby Feet


Let’s talk baby feet. Why? Well, first of all, they are adorable. Really adorable. And then new parents are so overwhelmed that they worry about everything – that is probably due to exhaustion.

Here is the first fact about baby’s feet that you might not know. ALL babies have flat feet.  Yep those little feet are flat as pancakes. As you may know, feet are really amazing and have a large number of bones, ligaments, muscles, tendons, and joints. With so much going on there, it takes feet awhile to develop completely. Usually about the time that babies turn into toddlers, their feet are developing and forming into non-flat feet. (except for about 20 percent of the population, which have flat feet) In fact, children’s feet will not be fully formed until about the age of 5.

The way baby shoes looked back in the day.
Now a very flexible shoe is recommended.

In the olden days, it was felt that baby’s feet needed to have hard soled structured shoes. The thoughts on this have changed over the years. When a toddler starts walking indoors, they should be walking in their bare feet or no slip socks. Why? Walking in their bare feet lets the child’s feet develop muscles and strength in their foot. It also lets the toes develop the grasping motion that they need to have as the child grows. If the toddler is outside, then they should have shoes as protection. The shoes should be lightweight and fully flexible.

It is important from the very start that you have your child’s shoes fit correctly. As your child starts walking, their feet will grow quickly and it will be important to watch that they have not outgrown their shoes. We also urge that you take your child to a shoe store that knows how to fit children’s shoes and that your child’s foot be measured (length and width) each time you buy shoes. The Stride Rite Company offers an iPad app for measuring your child’s foot.  

As a child begins to walk, generally it is too soon to tell if there are any issues. A child starting to walk will be growing and strengthening all the parts of their foot. But if there are things that seem to persist like walking on their tip toes or walking with their toes pointed in those persistent attributes can indicate some issues. Your friendly local podiatrist is there to evaluate your child’s gait. Children may not have the words to tell you that their feet hurt. There are telltale signs like limping, tripping or removing their shoes frequently, (Okay, this is harder to tell because some children will just take their shoes off all the time.) or the wear on their shoes may show an uneven pattern. Your podiatrist will be able to watch your child walk, look at the wear pattern on their shoes and ask questions to help diagnose any problems. One of the questions that the doctor may ask about is family foot issues. So many of the problems with feet are hereditary so you might want to be ready to talk about family foot issues.

Chances are that your child’s feet will develop normally.  Enjoy those little baby feet while you can. They will turn into large smelly feet faster than you can image!


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