Children’s Foot Health: Growth, Development, and Common Concerns

Here at Surrey Foot Service we are committed to helping parents understand the crucial role of foot health in a child’s overall development. The journey from infant steps to active childhood involves significant changes in the feet, and understanding these can ensure your child enjoys a healthy, active lifestyle.

Children's feet in grass 

Growth and Development

Children’s feet grow incredibly fast. Did you know that by the time a child reaches their first birthday, their feet account for nearly half their adult foot size! This rapid growth continues until around age 4, and by age 12, most children have developed the complex structure of bones, joints, muscles, and tendons that make up the adult foot.

During these formative years, it’s vital to allow for natural growth. Shoes that are too tight can hinder proper development, leading to deformities and discomfort. Conversely, shoes that are too loose can cause stumbling and prevent proper walking form. The key is to choose well-fitting, flexible shoes that support the foot without constricting it.


Milestones in Foot Development

Understanding the milestones can help parents ensure that their children’s feet are developing correctly. Initially, babies should spend a lot of time barefoot to allow the toes a better grip on the ground, which promotes balance, muscle growth, and sensory development. As toddlers walk more, their foot arch begins to develop, and by school age, most children should display a well-formed arch.


Common Paediatric Foot Concerns

Several common issues can affect children’s feet:

Flat Feet: While most babies are born with flat feet, the arch develops during childhood. Don’t worry though, flat feet are a perfectly normal foot shape for many adults! If your little one is experiencing pain, finding themself unable to enjoy activities, or struggling to keep up with their peers, come and see us.

Ingrown Toenails: Often due to tight shoes or improper nail trimming, ingrown toenails can be painful and may become infected.

Plantar Warts: Caused by a virus, these can be uncomfortable and require treatment to resolve.

Walking Patterns: Pay attention to how your child walks. In-toeing or out-toeing can sometimes resolve on their own, but persistent issues might need orthotic intervention.


Tips for Maintaining Healthy Feet


When to See a Podiatrist?

It’s important to consult a podiatrist if you notice anything unusual about your child’s foot development or walking patterns. Early intervention can prevent many foot problems from becoming severe as they grow. Conditions like severe in-toeing, limping, recurrent pain in the feet or legs, and skin or nail abnormalities are all reasons to see a specialist.


If you have any concerns about your child’s foot health or development, don’t hesitate to contact us. Remember, healthy feet are the foundation to an active and happy childhood!



Contact us if you would like you know more information regarding this Case Study.