Your Children's Feet

You worry about your children's teeth, eyes, and other parts of his/her body.  You teach washing,
brushing, and grooming, but what do you do about your child's feet--those still developing feet,
which have to carry the entire weight of the body through a lifetime?

Many adult foot ailments have their origins in childhood and are present at birth.  Periodic
professional attention and regular foot care can minimize these problems in later life.

youngster with troublesome feet walks awkwardly and usually has poor general posture. As a result,
these problems.

these problems.

Your Baby's Feet

The human foot -- one of the most complicated parts of the body --has 26 bones, and is laced with
ligaments, muscles, blood vessels, and nerves. Because the feet of young children are soft and
pliable, abnormal pressure can easily cause deformities.

A child's feet grow rapidly during the first year, reaching almost half their adult foot size. This is why
foot specialists consider the first year to be the most important in the development of the feet.

Here are some suggestions to help you assure that this development proceeds normally:
  • Look carefully at your baby's feet. If you notice something that does not look normal to you,
    seek professional care immediately. Deformities will not be outgrown by themselves.
  • Cover baby's feet loosely. Tight covers restrict movement and can retard normal
  • Provide an opportunity for exercising the feet. Lying uncovered enables the baby to kick and
    perform other related motions which prepare the feet for weight-bearing.

Starting to Walk

It is unwise to force a child to walk. When physically and emotionally ready, the child will walk.
Comparisons with other children are misleading, since the age for independent walking ranges
from 10 to 18 months.

surfaces, babies' feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear.
surfaces, babies' feet should be protected in lightweight, flexible footwear.

No need to purchase expensive shoes. The shoes should only provide a covering for the foot, and
normally do NOT need to support the arch or ankle. If the feet are normal, these structures will
develop normally as the child walks. A flexible sole is better than a hard sole. High-top ankle
supporting shoes are not advised.

Growing Up

As a child's feet continue to develop, it may be necessary to change shoe and sock size every few
months to allow room for the feet to grow. Although foot problems result mainly from injury,
deformity, illness, or hereditary factors, improper footwear can aggravate preexisting conditions.
Shoes or other footwear should never be handed down.

The feet of young children are often unstable because of muscle problems which make walking
difficult or uncomfortable. A thorough examination by one of our doctors may detect an underlying
defect or condition which may necessitate treatment.

Remember that lack of complaint by a youngster is not a reliable sign. The bones of growing feet
are so flexible that they can be twisted and distorted without the child being aware of it.

Sports Activities

Millions of American children participate in team and individual sports. Of particular concern are
sports that require a substantial amount of running and turning, or involve contact. Protective taping
of the ankles is often necessary to prevent sprains or fractures. Parents should consider discussing
these matters with one of our doctors if they have children participating in active sports.
Advanced Foot and Ankle Specialists * Houston: 8200 Wednesbury Lane, Suite 210, Houston, TX  77074 * Sugar Land Location: 17510 West Grand Parkway South, Suite 440, Sugar Land, TX  77479