The development of your child's feet: from birth to the age of 16

Kids

The development of your child's feet: from birth to the age of 16

From the moment your baby is born until he is around sixteen years old, his feet will grow. During the first year, the changes are most significant: children will reach almost half of their final shoe size in this time. Feet experts therefore say that the first year is most important for the development of your child’s feet. What does this feet development look like? What stages are there? Find out every step of the way from baby feet to grown feet.

Baby feet
When your baby is born, his feet are not fully developed yet. His feet mainly exist from cartilage (‘kraakbeen’ in Dutch, red.) and fat, and therefore are not compatible with adult feet. Also, the muscles in his feet and legs aren’t what they are going to be in a few years, since the muscles are not yet attached to the skeleton of his feet. Within the first years the cartilage in your baby’s feet will be converted into bone, and the fat will disappear.

Soon after their birth, babies will start trampling and moving their legs and feet. This is not just for fun: playing with their feet and legs actually has a purpose. While moving, the muscles in their feet prepare themselves to walk and to carry weight.

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Development of a child’s feet
When your child is around 3 years old, his feet will slowly grow into their ‘final’ shape. The feet will become less soft and flexible. The bones in his feet will be fully grown when a child is 8 years old, and then his feet will only grow in the length. And they will continue growing until he is around 16 years old.

As soon as the feet of your child are able to carry its bodyweight, he will stand up and try to walk on his own. Until the age of 2 or 3 children will stand on flat feet and with “O” shape legs, since this will make standing way more stable for them.

The first steps
When a child is going to start standing and walking, the position of his feet and legs will slowly change. His legs start in an “O” shape, but within two years they might change into an “X” shape: all tricks to gain more stability. In most cases, the “X” shape will eventually fade, and his legs will adjust themselves when they are around 5 years old. At this age the balance system of your child has developed, which means his feet are closer to each other, the position of his heels will be more straight, and the flat feet will slowly change into feet with a normal crossbow.

Source: Ouders van Nu

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Anniek den Boer

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