Children’s Foot Care

Young feet grow, and they do so quickly. From birth to our teens, our feet are constantly developing—and there’s a long trail of increasingly bigger shoes to mark our progress.

Although children’s feet tend to be “newer” than the experienced feet of adults, that does not mean they have no risks of developing problems. In fact, this rapid growth and development is a key time to ensure everything turns out properly. How our feet grow during the early stages of our lives can determine how comfortable and mobile we are in the future.

While there is no need to follow your child’s every step with an eagle eye, it is still important to be mindful of potential problems and have them addressed when necessary.

What Are the Crucial Years for Foot Development?

Most experts consider a child’s first year to be the most critical for foot development. However, that does not mean you should ignore the years beyond.

Kids’ feet grow quickly, so there is plenty going on in development:

  • From birth to 15 months, a child’s foot size will increase by about a half-size every 2 months.
  • From 15 months-2 years, there is a half-size increase every 2-3 months.
  • From 2-3 years, there is a half-size increase every 3-4 months.
  • From 3-5 years, there is a half-size increase every 4 months.

Growth continues after this period, of course, albeit at a much slower pace. Although our feet do change some in adulthood, most growth tends to end around 14-16 years of age.

If an abnormality begins to show itself during development—and it is something that needs attention—the sooner that attention is provided, the better. A child’s foot is very flexible when young, but becomes more rigid the closer we come to adulthood.

What Kinds of Developmental Problems Can Occur?

When a child is born, the structure of the foot is barely recognizable to what it eventually becomes. As we grow and learn to walk, we develop arches and settle into the general structure we see as adults.

During these years, you may see certain “abnormal” behaviors in movement, such as:

  • Arches that disappear when a child stands, but return when they sit or rise on tiptoes.
  • Walking on the toes for prolonged periods of time.
  • Walking with feet turned inward or outward.

These are worth bringing to our attention, but not worth being overly concerned about. Many children exhibit these behaviors as part of their growth and development. In the majority of cases, as the structure of the feet grow stronger and more defined, these behaviors tend to disappear.

That said, there is always the possibility that an underlying problem is causing these and other behaviors. Keeping a professional eye on your child’s development as they grow can help determine whether everything is progressing normally. If intervention is needed, it can be provided early on and have much more substantial effects.

Heel Pain in Active Teens

Another specific type of problem common in kids between the ages of 8-12 is Sever’s disease. This is a frequent cause of heel pain; especially in children who tend to be more into sports and activities.

Sever’s disease isn’t a “disease” in the germs sense, but a condition in which the still growing heel bone has excess stress or pressure placed on it while it is in a more sensitive state, leading to swelling and pain. Activities that involve running, jumping, or even long periods of standing can all aggravate the heel bone.

Treatment for Sever’s disease often includes taking a rest from certain activities, but we can help your child stay active in other ways and not feel that they are missing out on everything. Our goal is to get them back to full action as quickly and safely as possible.

We Treat Other Children’s Foot Problems, Too!

A lot of the same problems adults get can happen to children, too. Some, such as plantar warts and ingrown toenails, tend to happen more often with kids (thanks, developing immune system and rapidly outgrowing shoes).

Whenever you have any concerns about your child’s foot or ankle health, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call our Enumclaw office at (360) 761-1285 or send us a message via our online contact form.

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