Healthy feet have 26 bones, most of which are made of soft cartilage at birth. During childhood, these bones begin to harden (or ossify) and are not fully developed until about the age of 18. It is very important during these early years to look after children’s developing feet as they are very sensitive to pressure. Footwear must fit correctly as the foot can easily adopt the shape of a shoe that doesn’t fit properly which can then prevent the foot from developing naturally.
Concerns noted by parent or child should be dealt with promptly to avoid any long term foot problems. When a child or parent seeks podiatry advice regarding a foot problem, the podiatrist is examining levels of progression the child is making at various stages. Questions will be asked around crawling and walking, this allows the podiatrist to build a clear picture to identify if the child is developing normally or needs help or advice.
Some of the most common foot complaints in children are:
- Curly Toes
- Tip – toe walking
- Flat Feet
- Painful heels
- Shin splints
Children are assessed with their parents present and advice is given by your podiatrist on the appropriate management for the condition. Correct footwear in terms of fitting and style is very important for children, sometimes orthotics (shoe inserts) may be necessary to manage how the foot relates to the ground and ensure structural safety.