Young Foot -What every parent should know25 June 2012

The human foot is a highly complex structure, composed of 26 bones working together to enable us to walk and run, providing mobility and quality of life. In the newborn, the foot is made up of relatively soft and flexible cartilage that gradually converts to bone over time. During this period of development great care should be taken with your child’s feet as they can be at risk from injury and deformity due to ill-fitting footwear and abnormal activity. 

Oh look, he's got your feet 

At around the age of two the foot shape your child has inherited becomes clear. There are three main foot shapes. Which are you?

Tapered: Big toe is definitely big here

Rounded (or Grecian)
: The 2nd or 3rd toe is actually longer than the big toe!

Square: Well not quite square but all toes of roughly equal length.

Older Kids' Feet 

Feet continue to grow and develop well into the teens but by the age of 5, kids’ feet are starting to look more like grown-up versions. But they’re still vulnerable even at this stage.

Still growing strong: By the age of 5 the foot has its full count of 26 bones now the navicular bone has developed. However, even at the age of 8 the bones in the foot are still not fully formed, as the “secondary centres of ossification” are still not complete. However feet will start to grow less quickly (good news for parents) but still by a whole size per year. The arch is also properly developed, which means your child’s footprint will now start to look much more like your own.

Walk like a man (woman)
: Only now does the foot develop the adult walking motion. The foot touches the ground first on the outside of the heel. The weight is then transferred down the foot’s outer border and the front part of the foot touches down. Finally, weight moves to the inside of the foot and the toes push off towards the next step.

Fit still first concern: Even now when your child’s foot looks more like an adult’s, it’s still almost as vulnerable as it’s ever been. The new heel to toe walking style means the shape of the foot changes inside the shoe with every step, so having shoes that are the correct shape and fitting is as vital as ever.

Right fit, right look: Even very young children quickly develop a strong sense of what they like. For girls especially, having the right look is very important. Some retailers now produce good-looking shoes which also care for your child's feet.