Each human foot comprises of 26 bones. As a child, these bones are mostly soft cartilage. As the foot grows that soft cartilage begins to form its final shape and starts to harden and become bone. To put it simply, your child’s foot is very mouldable and adaptable to whatever shoe shape you put their foot into. If the shoes are too narrow, your child’s soft bones will mould into that narrow shape. If the shoes are too stiff, the muscles will learn to develop differently to adapt to the stiffness of the shoe. Having the wrong shoes on your child’s feet can lead to abnormal walking patterns like toe-walking, pigeon toe-walking and toe deformities that are often irreversible past puberty.
Not every pair of feet is the same. Some may need extra depth and height in the shoe because they have a “fleshy/chubby” foot while others need a wider shoe at the toe area because their toes splay outwards.
We have found that some adult foot conditions could have been avoided if their feet were better cared for at a young age.
At Happifeet Podiatry, we are all about the natural development of your child's feet. This may be allowing your child to roam barefoot to promote their balance, sensory skills, coordination and muscle strength.
As our feet change over time because we use them more and more, you will find there are many differences in shoe brands for newborns, toddlers, and school-aged kids when compared to "adult shoes". This is because our feet are adapting to the loads unto which they are placed. This means that as we grow, our bones and muscles may require more support because we are using them more.
For example, newborns and toddlers spend most of their time on their tummys, crawling or beginning to stand up independently between the ages of 0-2 years. If you are looking for shoes between these ages, we recommend shoes that support the natural development of their feet.
As our children grow older, we find they are spending a lot more time on their feet and therefore may require more supportive shoe options that are fitted to their individual foot type. Studies show that good quality footwear positively affects the running and walking gait in children.
If you would like your child to be fitted into the correct shoes for their foot type, book in for a COMPLIMENTARY footwear check with one of our podiatrists. All you need to do is, bring along your child and their current shoes to be checked. This way, the podiatrist can determine whether or not your child needs further podiatric treatment.