During development it is normal for children to have flat feet for a period of time. From the time they are born up to about five years of age there are many changes taking place with their feet and lower limbs, however a Podiatrist can identify what is normal for their age and what is not.
Let your children stand up and walk when they're ready. Encouraging your child to walk too early can cause bowed legs because the bones will still be too supple.
When children first walk it's fine for them to have no shoes. This enhances motor development though nerves in the foot. Obviously, shoes should be worn for protection outside.
Using 'pushers' as toys may be harmful as it encourages toe walking and affects balance.
The best shoes for children have a relatively firm heel cup, or heel counter. Either a sandal with a back on it or a high cut boot.
Be aware of your child's behaviour. Is your child inactive? Would they prefer to stay inside rather than play outdoors? Do they complain or become cranky after periods of walking? This may be because the child has 'growing pains' or pain when walking due to a biomechanical fault.
If you are worried about the development of your child's legs and feet, contact us for specialist advice about their biomechanical development.
If you have ever been told, "don't worry about his/her flat feet, they will grow out of it", and a proper evaluation was not undertaken to come to this conclusion, then you have been given poor advice.
If every child 'grew out' of their flat feet, then why are there so many adults with flat feet?
When a child first walks, their feet appear very flat for a few reasons. Firstly, they still have a lot of fatty tissue around their arch, which will in time decrease with activity, and secondly, their foot is still twisted slightly so when they stand their foot will roll inwards to get onto the ground. As they get older, up to age five, things change, and eventually the foot should become 'normal' in appearance. It is important to remember that there is a hereditary factor with foot type and therefore if problems have been experienced by blood relatives it may be worthwhile having a professional opinion to assess and possibly reduce the risk of future problems for young family members.