A child’s foot development
During their first year of life, your baby is growing and changing rapidly and so is the size and shape of their feet. At birth, their feet are completely made of cartilage, pliable tissue that will eventually turn to bones around the age of three. Their feet will continue to evolve until the age of 18 to 21 years old when they reach full maturity.
You should know that many toddlers seem to have their feet turned inwards, a phenomenon that is attributed to the position they held in the womb. Generally, if your child has good posture, engages in preventive exercises like stretching and wears proper socks and shoes, this problem will subside by itself.
If the problem persists
In some cases, the problem will persist and that is why it’s important to encourage the healthy development of your child’s feet and legs and to remain vigilant in order to detect the signals that indicate a visit to the podiatrist has become necessary.
Here are the signs to watch for:
- If the soles of their shoes are uneven
- If your child has small lumps or bumps on their feet
- If your child is experiencing pain in their feet or legs
- If they fall or stumble often
- If they develop skin or nail problems
- If they complain of fatigue in their legs
- If they keep walking with their legs inwards with no improvement over time
What causes in-toeing
This common condition among children may present itself for different reasons that your podiatrist will evaluate during your visit. The problem may arise from:
- Their hips (tension in the ligaments)
- Their thigh bones (torsion)
- Their knees (torsion, arched or knock knee)
- Their legs (torsion)
- Their feet (in-toeing, hollow feet)
What can you do?
As we mentioned earlier, the majority of malformations and the related problems will disappear by the time a child gets to adulthood. However, there are things you can do to promote a healthy development of their feet and legs:
- Allow your baby to stretch their legs and kick their feet
- Encourage your child to engage in simple stretching exercises
- Ask them to avoid sitting in the reversed tailor style
- Teach your child to have good posture
- Make sure they wear proper socks and shoes
If the problem persists and causes major issues for your child and their quality of life, your podiatrist might prescribe them custom-made orthotics to reduce the daily symptoms such as pain or trips and falls. There are several different types of orthotics and your podiatrist will recommend the most suitable according to your child’s condition and needs.