Newborn (0-6 months)

  • At Newborn, the baby's foot structure is not mature and there is no rigid bone structure. The cartilage tissue is unable to support the body weight.
  • The foot consists of 22 bones. They are wrapped around by the subcutaneous tissue and fat for protecting the incompletely developed foot bones.
  • The length of the five toes is similar and the arch has not yet developed in this stage.

Start to Crawling (7-10 months)

  • The baby needs to raise and rotate the head to the left and right for crawling. It also needs the strength of the shoulders and wrists to support the whole upper body. Therefore, it is beneficial to strengthen their joints of the hands, feet and neck and the muscle of the abdomen, neck and limbs. Exercise on small muscles will promote bone growth, enhance physical strength and lay the foundation for future movements.

Start to walking (11-18 months)

  • The baby will try to stand after the baby get used to crawl as the mind, muscles and nerves mature. Then, they will have the first step of their life. Most babies will know how to walk at age 9-18 month.
  • At the beginning of walking, the gait is mostly like a penguin. During walking, they will swing left and right which mean they are not stable.
  • Appropriate shoes for school should be designed so that the baby's feet can sense the floor during walking. The design should protect the feet while ensure that the shoes do not hinder them from learning to walk.
  • It is not advised to buy a baby walker in order to let their children learn to walk faster. A university study in 1999 pointed out that babies who often use Baby walker would develop their physically and mentally ability slowly than those who do not use baby walker. Parents only need to provide assistance properly and encourage their infants walking, they will naturally understand how to walk.

Steady to walk (19-36 months)

  • At this stage, walking will gradually stabilizes and the time for the feet to bear the weight of the body increases accordingly.
  • Young children have a thick layer of fat covering the arch of the foot, called the "fake flat feet". In addition, there will be more obvious hindfoot valgus and X-legs.
  • For the choice of footwear, it is recommended that the heel of the shoe should be rigid enough to control the heel. The material of the upper should also be highly breathable (for example, using microfiber, cowhide, etc.) to reduce the chance of fungal infection. Because the forefoot of the young child is more wide, the toe box of the shoe should be wide enough to allow movement between the toes.

Foot type change period (3-5 years old)

  • At this stage, the fat layer at the bottom of the feet gradually absorbed and disappeared. The arch of the foot began to appear. At the same time, the angle of the hindfoot and the X-legs began to decrease.
  • For the insole, in addition to the appropriate arch curvature, also pay attention to the softness of the insole. In general, the arch support insole used for daily walking should be harder. The material of insole which is for sports is more elastic to provide good cushioning and shocking absorption.
  • In order to simulate the growth of child's bone structure, parents are advised to choose the shoes with rigid heel cup which will reduce the deviation angle of the hind foot and the X-leg.

The child's foot is still at the developmental stage. If there is a foot-deformity like flat feet, in addition to wearing an orthotic shoe support/insole, it is also encouraged to do more foot muscle strengthening exercise. Making those as games will encourage children willing to do more.個令小朋友肯持續做運動的好方法。

Foot muscle strengthening exercise 1 - Adding fun on the exercise

Foot muscle strengthening exercise 2

Steady walking (over 5 years old)

  • The foot and knee structure of children over 5 years old are similar to adults.
  • It is also easier to distinguish whether there are morphological problems such as flat feet,. It is is the golden period of using foot orthotic and prevention of morphological deviation.
  • It is recommended that parents should bring their children to the relevant professionals for examination. For example, children aged 5 or above still have obvious flat feet problems, which may require correction by the insoles.
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