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All you need to know about your baby’s feet

Is bow-legged babies normal? Is there a need to worry if a child’s feet point inward? Should a specialist be consulted if an infant has flat feet? These are just three of the many questions parents have regarding the feet of babies and toddlers.

Baby’s feet and legs evolution

According to specialist doctor Christophe Blanc in France, most babies are born with a walking reflex. However, because the muscles are not yet developed, they cannot walk yet.

At birth, babies only suckle and sleep, so their muscles only move lightly and are not fully developed. Little by little, your baby will begin to raise his head in a lying position, sit up and move around by crawling. That’s when the muscles are gradually developing, pulling bones, tendons and shaping the skeleton.

All moms need to know about babies' feet - Photo 1.

Baby’s flat feet: When is it normal?

Most babies have flat feet (no arches) because their feet are mostly soft tissues. However, when children reach the age of 2 to 3, the arches of the feet will begin to fully develop and flat feet will disappear by the time the child is about 4 to 6 years old, depending on the child.

The more a child moves, the more muscles his body will develop and the more arches of his feet will expand. Therefore, choosing the right shoes is essential for the development of children’s feet. Expert Christophe Blanc emphasized, it is better for parents to let children go barefoot as much as possible, or wear soft shoes without arches to facilitate the complete development of the feet.

Bowed Baby: Should Mom Worry?

At birth, in most cases, a baby’s legs are slightly bent, shaped like braces, with knees apart and ankles fused together, known as genu varum (bow-legs). However this is completely normal. Because in the process of development and learning to walk, the baby’s bow legs will gradually turn into the letter X, with the knees pressed together, also known as genu valgum (cup of the knee). “Under the synergistic effect of weight and the anatomical orientation of the articular surfaces of the knee, children will transition from genu varum to genu valgum between 18 months and 2 years of age, when they learn how to walking,” explains expert Christophe Blanc. In some cases, the condition persists until puberty before the child’s leg finds a normal axis.

Legs inward: How to straighten baby’s legs?

When in the womb, babies often bend their legs under the opposite thigh, in a cross-legged position. At birth, the shafts of the femoral neck and knee are very open, pulling the tips of the feet inward. The inclination of the femoral neck at birth is 30 to 40 degrees, whereas in adulthood it should be 15 degrees. This will subside, thanks to the external rotation of the hip, which causes the tips of the feet to gradually open up, says Dr. Chrisstophe Blanc. Usually between the ages of 3 and 8, the feet become parallel

If this evolution is physiological and happens naturally, it is still necessary to ensure that the child is moving enough and moving correctly, for optimal muscle development. Parents can help children do small exercises to stimulate foot development such as walking on heels or tiptoes, grabbing objects with their feet (grasp) or even moving their toes… But above all it is essential to get your baby’s feet to the ground as soon as possible.

When should you worry?

If your child keeps his foot in an X after 6 years of age, continues to keep his foot inward after 1 year of walking, or still has flat feet after 7 years of age and then you need to consult a specialist. “In general, if a child feels discomfort or pain when walking, complains of hand fatigue very quickly, or falls frequently, it is best to see a doctor to check if the child is not showing anything unusual,” Dr. Blanc added.

How do baby’s feet develop?

Your baby’s feet go through quite an impressive development during the first few months of life.

Between birth and 2 years old, your baby’s chubby, flat feet will grow an average of 2 centimeters per year, at a rate of one shoe size about every two months.

Between the ages of 2 and 3, growth slows slightly, adding about 1.5 cm per year, averaging at a rate of one shoe size every three months.

Between the ages of 3 and 5, babies gain about one shoe size every 4 to 5 months, and from age 5, they gain an average of two shoe sizes per year. From the age of 3 to 8 years old, the arch of the baby’s foot gradually becomes apparent, the pelvis begins to protrude: the foot gradually reaches the physiology of the adult foot.

Baby foot deformity

While flat feet, bow legs, and “inner” feet are physiological in infants, there are also deformities that need to be treated early, such as clubfoot, arched foot, or heel cup. .

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