When babies are born their feet are structured around soft cartilage that gradually ossifies into bones.
After a year or so, the feet are sufficiently strong to take the child’s weight when walking. However, the process still has a long way to go before the bones are fully hardened. This process is complete at adolescence.
Children develop at different rates. As a guide, babies will start to crawl from about 9 months and walk from about 10 months old. Between 10-18 months many children will be taking their first steps. At this time they will often appear to have bow legs, with a flat footed appearance. The feet spread wide apart and typically wobble (toddle) when they walk. You should always let your child develop walking skills and confidence at their own pace and if you have any concerns ask our experts at ALP.
Footwear and Shoe Fitting
Babies should not wear shoes, including pram shoes, until they can walk. As babies, avoid tightly wrapped blankets that prevent kicking and easy leg movement and baby-grows (unless you cut the feet parts out).
Walking bare foot, where it is safe, is good for children’s feet. Children’s feet are vulnerable to deformity from any ill-fitting footwear/hosiery until the bones are completely formed at around 18 years of age. Fitted socks made from natural materials are much better than stretch-fit socks.
When buying shoes go to a reputable shop – we recommend Trotters, or see the Children’s Foot Health Register where feet are measured and quality shoes are fitted correctly. Good shoe shops will always measure feet regularly as your child’s feet will be growing fast. Good shoes are a sound investment.
The shape of the shoe and especially the toe area should be wide and round allowing for toes to move and spread.
Many musculoskeletal conditions of children’s feet and legs are treatable. At the very least we can advise on such conditions at an early stage even if treatment is not needed.
Here are some typical conditions to look out for in children:
Symptoms and Possible Diagnosis