9 Things every parent should know about their toddler’s feet!

Do you want only the best for your baby?

The human foot is composed of 26 bones, tendons, ligaments and more! It is a complex structure with bones, joints, muscles and soft tissues working together to enable us to stand straight, walk, run, or jump. 

1. The younger the foot, the faster it grows.
The first 3 years of a baby’s foot growth is accelerated. They can grow up to 12 sizes within the first 3 years; one half size every 3 months. This is why it is recommended by podiatrists (foot doctors) to measure your toddler’s foot at least every 3 months.

If the shoes are too small, the tiny toes can deform and cause permanent damage to the foot.  This means that in the first 3 years you may have to get a new pair of shoes every 3-6 months for your fast growing little one.

2. Growing feet are developing feet.
In the newborn, infant and toddler stages the foot is made up of mostly soft and flexible cartilage that gradually converts to bone in the next 18 years. While the structure of the foot develops fully by the first 2 years, it is crucial to have the right shoes on, so that the bones can develop in a healthy, natural way.

3. Feet are the foundation for your whole body.
While we usually treat our foot separate from our body, it is important to remember that this is the body part that supports our entire skeletal structure!

Most doctors will agree that adult foot issues, back pain, neck pain and even body posture problems are rooted in the wrong shoes that were ill-fitted, poorly made or simply bad foot experience in early childhood. 

4.  The stress level in kids' feet are much greater than adults.
Have you ever had the thought that you can’t keep up with your little, unstoppable toddler? Your toddler is putting about three times more stress on his or her foot than you. They run, jump, tumble, fall off and do it all over again. Their high activity levels are in greater proportion to the high impact activities compared to their mommy and daddy.

They should wear flexible shoes that allow free movement of their little feet and not restricting them. It is recommended to walk barefoot as much as possible, but this is sometimes just impossible. No caring parent would let their baby run around in a mulched playground barefoot.  

5. More support less muscles.
It is very simple. The more your baby’s foot is supported with arch, heel or ankle support, the less his or her foot has to work. The less your baby’s foot works, the less muscles will develop.

It is highly recommended to buy shoes that do not highly support one part of the foot more than the other because it can cause unbalanced foot development that can cause serious issues in the future.

If your baby has a flat foot, do not worry. In their early age, especially in the first 2 years, they usually have a “fat pad” that causes the visual misunderstanding of the flat foot. But do not worry, because children’s arch typically does not develop until puberty. So for the first 2 years it is recommended for babies to wear flexible and unsupported shoes as much as possible.

6. Bad shoes makes sweaty feet, and sweaty feet make bad shoes.
Babies run around discovering the world all day. As they run, they sweat. As a matter of fact their foot sweat is about 2-3 times more than adult sweat.
They even sweat more if the shoe is made of non-breathable material. Sweating in the shoes all day, every day, will wear the inner lining out.
After months this can cause structural damage of the shoe from inside out.  Sweaty and stinky baby feet also invites a perfect environment for bacteria, fungus and viruses to grow.

Babies may also develop eczema or infections.

The other problem with shoes that cause sweaty feet is that they overheat. In breathable shoes, your baby’s foot can not overheat. The human skin regulates temperature by releasing sweat. If the sweat can not evaporate, the skin cannot cool itself and will overheat.

However, if the fabric covering human skin is a breathable, it allows the skin to sweat and the sweat to evaporate, thereby not overheating the baby. This only applies at room temperature. If you place the baby in extreme temperatures it doesn’t matter how breathable his or her shoes are, your little one can overheat. Please always practice caution and common sense.

Always buy shoes that are made of breathable material! 

7. Shoe materials make a difference.
Fabrics like canvas, cotton, linen are great for children's shoes because they are durable and flexible, not to mention breathable. They soften with wear, and stretch and mold to the foot.

Other materials like faux leather, suede or other synthetic leather-like materials may or may not have similar qualities. Always be careful and inspect materials before buying new baby shoes.

8. The size matters!
Shoes too small will restrict baby’s foot growth, cut off good circulation, and cause blisters and pain.

Shoes too big can cause chafing, blisters on your child’s heel, and prevent them from being able to grip the ground when running or walking. They also can cause tripping in front of the toe, causing injuries.

9. The sole matters!
A shoe with a lot of structure, especially at the sole, will restrict the roll movement of the foot. The toes will be unable to do their work and impede the development of muscles in the foot and ankle. Your baby should feel the ground below his or her feet that allows better grip and balance.
When your toddler wears heavily structured baby shoes with a lot of supported areas, the need for the child’s own muscles to work to find balance and strength is diminished.

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