The 26 bones in each foot gradually develop throughout the early years, becoming basically bony by the age of 7-8 years, at which point the toes have usually straightened. However, they are not fully developed until the late teens.
Common Problems and Anxieties
Mothers are often concerned because their baby appears to be walking flat-footed. In the early stages of development this is quite normal and gives them a more stable base until the legs and feet have gained strength.
If the flat-footedness appears to persist in a young child and is apparently causing problems, consult your podiatrist who will be able to advise whether appropriate exercises or corrective insoles might be needed.
Toeing in and toeing out can sometimes cause problems. If your child seems to trip over rather more than normally, then observe them walking and see if they appear to be toeing in. If they do so, it is a relatively simple matter to correct this either by exercises, a corrective insole or a simple modification to the shoe.
Sometimes these difficulties lie in a variation in hip development and referral to a Paediatrician or Orthopaedic Consultant may be indicated. Your Podiatrist will be able to offer appropriate advice.
Leather shoes take on the shape of the foot, so you should never hand them down to another child for whom that shape may be quite unsuitable and may even cause harm.