Checking your children’s feet regularly is so important. Infants are unaware if they have a blister or sore area and very small people are often too busy to tell you. Athletes foot, blisters can all go unnoticed ..until they become infected. For a diabetic this is extremely serious and you must seek medical assistance immediately.
Some foot health issues are simple to resolve, but if your child is pronating (turning feet in), supinating (turning feet out), claw toeing, tiptoeing etc., you may need to seek professional advice from your GP or local podiatrist/chiropodist (make sure they are HCPC registered), as they may need a small orthotic inside their shoe/s to help retrain their gait. If your natural gait changes it can wear other parts of your anatomy – primarily your ankles, knees, hips, back and neck, so best to rectify the situation when it is easiest to do so. Thank you to the following supporters of The Children’s Foot Health Register:
Jacqui Ward MChS, MSSF,
Podiatrist – HCPC Registered
Mobile within Northamptonshire
Based in Kettering
Proprietor and Lead Podiatrist,
BAILIFF BRIDGE PODIATRY CENTRE,
621 Bradford Road,
HD 6 4DN
Mon – 9.00 am – 6.00 pm
Tues – 8.30 am – 5.30 pm
Weds – Closed
Thurs – 9.00 am – 3.00 pm
Friday – 9.00 am -1.00 pm and 4.30 pm – 7.00 pm
The walking development of a child
Walking skills develop slowly; having taken those first steps a child does not learn to walk ‘overnight’.
The learning process covers an approximate period between 1 year – 2.5 years and can be broken down into three main stages.
- First Independent Steps.
- Confident Toddling
- Running and Jumping
(a) First Independent steps
Most children take their first independent steps between 10 – 16 months. At this stage, the child is still somewhat unstable and will tend to waddle with feet wide and legs apart a – bowed; the gait, is due both to the need for balance and the influence of nappies. The child can take several steps unaided but will fall over quite frequently.
(b) Confident Toddling
After first independent steps, the child enters a second stage of walking development: ‘Confident Toddling’. This stage is usually between 14 and 24 months of age. Around 14 months the child has abandoned crawling as the only means of getting around and can toddle a few steps.
Naturally, the child’s mobility is Very uncontrolled at this early stage of walking, his on her braking and steering systems haven’t developed sufficiently to stop or swerve to avoid objects. Furthermore, the standing position also presents a problem at this very early stage. The child cannot stand without first using a support like a chair to gain leverage. Parents can help here with specially designed toys, such as ‘toddler truck’ – extra stable so that toddlers can pull themselves up on it safely.
The early waddling gait of those first independent steps although even at two years old, the Child will sill tend to stomp heavy-footed rather than using a heel-to-toe motion. But once walking has begun, constant practice makes it easier and easier. About 3 months after abandoning crawling. toddlers will be able to pull themselves up independently of Support – and, by now they will be steady enough to pick up things without falling or sitting. Around this time also, toddlers should be able to turn their heads and look at things as they progress – even glance back over their shoulders while walking. Just a few months further on, and most children will have learned to walk backwards as well as forwards and be starting to run. Once running, the child will quickly discover that he or she can jump. In fact by their second birthday the majority of children are sure and confident on their feet although spills, still can and do occur.
(c) Running and Jumping
From about 2 years old the child becomes confident in all aspects of walking. running and jumping. In fact, a child of three will have developed nearly all the walking skills he or she will have as an adult of thirty.
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.
Foot comprises mostly of cartilage and can be deformed by an ill-fitting sock or all-in-one suit.
Bone structure is developing but there are still large gaps between the bones.
Second 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.
Bones are now fully formed and hardened with only small gaps between them.