The need for correct shoe fitting through all the growing years

Amongst the countries of Europe, the U.K is at the forefront in understanding the importance of correct shoe fitting and protecting the healthy growth of young feet. The members of the Shoe Fitting Register work independently and together to exchange information, maintain in-shop standards and communicate the message of correct shoe fitting to the health education, authorities, parents and children.

To understand why, this work is important, one must first appreciate the vulnerability of the young, growing foot.

The foot: infancy to adulthood

It will take approximately 18 years for a child’s foot to fully develop. At birth. the foot contains 22 partially developed bones. By school age, this number will increase to 45. Over the next 13 to 14 years many of these will fuse together to form the 26 bones that make up the mature adult foot. While most parents recognise the need for correctly fitting shoes during a child’s early years of walking life, few realise that children’s feet remain vulnerable to ill-fitting shoes right through their school days, up to the age of 18 years or so. It is a concerning fact that many children suffer foot problems by their early teens, often associated with ill-fitting shoes. Yet if parents sustain vigilance throughout the young, growing foot’s 18 formative years, the vast majority of children’s foot problems will quite simply never happen.

At 6 Months
g1Foot comprises mostly of cartilage and can be deformed by an ill-fitting sock or all-in-one suit.
At 2 Years
g2Bone structure is developing but there are still large gaps between the bones.
At 8 Years
g3Second part of phalangeal and metatarsal bones can be seen they will take a further 10 years, to fuse together. Ill fitting shoes can easily affect this process.
At 18 Years
g4Bones are now fully formed and hardened with only small gaps between them.