Most babies are born with perfect feet - and the best way to keep them that way is to take special care during the early years of foot growth.
Up until the age of seven or eight, the cartilage and bones in a child's foot are still soft and malleable. Any damage done during this period can not only cause discomfort and distress but also affect the future development of the foot.
Choosing correctly sized shoes for your child is therefore critical. You should also remember that children's feet do not develop at a uniform rate. They often experience growth spurts that can see feet change in size within a matter of weeks.
It is good practice to always have your children's feet measured and their shoes fitted by properly- trained experts. Most shops providing footwear for little feet employ trained staff and reputable retailers should insist on taking such measurements when recommending children's shoes.
Aside from the actual fitting, it is also a good idea to opt for lace-up shoes or shoes with adjustable straps that allows for tightening or loosening according to growth. An under-two's shoes should usually have room for three months’ growth. As a general rule, shoes for children over that age usually have a maximum five-month lifespan.
If you’re in doubt over any aspect of a child's foot development, consult your local GP or podiatrist. Most early foot-problems can be remedied relatively easily during the formative stages, and many podiatrists have extensive experience of dealing with children's feet. It’s worth remembering that correcting minor ailments in the early years is the best way of preventing them becoming bigger issues in later life.