No one ever says that being a parent is easy, and for good reason—it’s not. Parenting can certainly be a most rewarding experience, but there are countless hours of worry, overwhelming feelings, and even fights (hello, teenage years!). It is rather doubtful that anyone has fully perfected the role, but we are inclined to believe that most parents try their best to raise children well and keep them safe.
Part of responsible parenting, of course, is tending to a child’s health needs. From birth through physical maturity, there is a lot that happens with the lower limbs, so let’s take a look at child foot development so you can know when foot care is needed, and when not to worry!
The first thing that can be particularly helpful to know about the development of a child’s foot is that babies are born with bones that are soft and quite pliable. This is important to note because some children are born with feet that curve inwards (metatarsus adductus) or leg bones that twist (tibia torsion, femoral anteversion). These abnormal alignments may cause intoeing, but they often self-correct in time.
In addition to soft bones, babies also have pads of fat that obscure the early foot arches. Many parents are concerned about flatfoot issues, particularly when a child starts taking his or her first steps. Not only are arches hidden at first, they also take time to develop and will not be fully formed until around age 8. This means that your son or daughter might walk with a flexible flatfoot condition. If there are no symptoms present (such as pain or aversion to favorite activities), this is not something that needs to be treated. (It is still worth monitoring, though.)
As a child enters the teen years, it is possible that the growth of the heel bone (calcaneus) will happen more quickly than that of the Achilles tendon. This creates a fairly common condition known as Sever’s disease. Sever’s is not actually a disease, but rather a condition that will go away over time, without causing long-term problems. In the meantime, your son or daughter may need treatment for the symptoms (especially heel pain).
Understanding child foot development can not only provide peace of mind when you notice that a son or daughter has flat feet, but it can also clue you in as to when treatment is actually needed. If you find that your child has a foot or ankle issue that is causing pain or difficulty, we can help. Contact Advanced Foot and Ankle for more information on the child foot care services we provide.
Give us a call at (208) 731-6321 to speak to one of our friendly staff members or schedule an appointment online at either our Twin Falls or Burley, ID podiatrist offices today.