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Much like every other aspect of growth, a pair of small feet becoming larger and stronger is a wonder to behold. During the first year of life, a baby’s feet grow to 50% of their adult size and reach the 90% mark by twelve years of age.
While an adult foot is comprised of twenty-six bones and an intricate network of thirty-three joints as well as over one hundred muscles, ligaments, babies are born with only twenty-two bones in each foot. However, the full complement of twenty-six bones will develop by the time a child turns five years of age.
The bones in a baby’s feet are soft at birth. For this reason, it’s recommended that babies only wear socks until they are walking on their own. In this way, their feet are not cramped and remain free to develop. While most toddlers are flat-footed, with toes that turn in, and legs slightly bowed, their anatomy aligns over time. However, if you’re concerned about the continued presence of bowed legs, knocked-knees, in-toeing, out-toeing, flat feet, or tiptoe walking, we advise you to contact our office for an assessment and care.
Because children are so active throughout the day, a variety of foot and ankle problems can occur. If your child is complaining of cramping or pain, is limping, and seems less interested in physical activities or playing outside, it may indicate the presence of a foot or ankle issue.
Common pediatric foot conditions include a wide range of foot injuries as well as everything from athlete’s foot, fungal nail infections, plantar warts, blisters, ingrown toenails, bunions, or bunionettes to corns and calluses, overlapping toes, foot odor, sweaty feet and more. Likewise, the significant heel pain of Sever’s disease, the pain, and stiffness associated with tarsal coalitions along with traumatic growth plate injuries can also affect a child’s foot health, function, and development.
Remember, healthy feet are vital to a child's development and overall well-being. To help ensure optimal foot health and development, contact our office for care.