At birth, a baby’s feet will have up to 22 bones. By the time the baby becomes a young adult, the 22 bones will have become 26. The first few years of a baby’s development are crucial as the bones are very soft and need room to move around.
Here are a few tips for looking after your child’s feet:
- Try not to put the baby in tight shoes, as this can result in claw or hammered toes.
- Try to give feet breathing space by keeping them in bare feet occasionally, when inside.
- Inspect the baby’s feet regularly to check if they have developed any damage or blisters.
- Use only socks and shoes that are breathable and use absorbent material.
Walking and a baby’s first shoes
We recommend that your baby’s first shoes are made from lightweight and natural materials.
- Make sure the soles of the baby’s first shoes are flexible and are made from non-skid materials.
- Inspect feet every 6-8 weeks as they will grow rapidly – they can double in size in a year.
- Make sure the child’s shoes have at least 18mm space to allow the feet to breathe.
Potential foot problems in children
Two of the most common concerns for parents during the early stages of a child’s life are:
- Flat feet - this is when your child waddles when they walk. Almost all babies do this when they first start to walk, because they are unbalanced. However, if your child still does this by the age three, it is best to see a podiatrist.
- Talipes – This is when one or both of your child’s feet have a deformity. Talipes can be inherited, and is normally identified at birth. It is usually caused by a lack of balance in the foot muscles.
If you are concerned that your child has problems with his or her feet it is always best to consult your doctor or a foot specialist.