Children Foot Types
The developed foot has an arch, called the medial arch, formed by muscles and ligaments. Up until 2 years of age children’s feet appear to have fallen arches or ‘flat feet’. In children, this is normal, and due to weakened muscle tone in the feet, the fatty pads and loose ligaments lean feet inwards. Walking develops these muscles and ligaments, and by 5 years of age, your child should have developed an arch.
Feet that turn inwards (in-toed)
Many toddlers walk ‘pigeon-toed’ or in-toed with either one or both feet. In most cases, it resolves by itself with the development of strength in the muscles and ligaments between 3-5 years. If the in-toeing seems to involve the knees or hips also during rotation and isn’t improving, see a podiatrist for an assessment. This can be a sign of underlying difficulties such as joint problems and is fairly common with premature babies. In many cases, the use of gentle orthotic therapy can correct this problem early, leading to healthy foot posture development later on.
Feet that turn outwards (out-toed)
Less common are toddlers who walk with their feet turned outwards, like a penguin. Again this is more common in premature babies.
Many foot problems in children correct naturally with strength and development and time, but you should contact a podiatrist if you notice:
- Abnormally shaped toes / ingrown toenails
- Bunions or other deformities
- Stiffness in feet % Limping
- Complaints of pain when walking
- Severe in-toeing or out-toeing, especially where the knee and hip seems involved
- Flat feet at 5 years of age
- The sudden change in walking posture
- Not walking by 2 years of age
- Children who frequently trip or stumble when running and walking