You’re watching your toddler take his or her first steps, and you are consumed with pride and joy. As he or she practices walking, perhaps you notice that the arches of the feet lay flat against the ground. You look at your own feet and start to worry because your toddler’s feet do not have the same pronounced arches that you do. At Podiatry Center of New Jersey, located in Wayne, NJ, we receive many questions and concerns about caring for children’s feet.

What is normal?

Babies’ feet are small and covered in a layer of fat when they are born, and despite the fast growing that occurs once they are out of the womb, they still have a lot of foot and leg development to go through before their feet start looking more like normally-shaped feet. The arches of the feet have a thick pad of fat, so it is natural for them to be fairly flat. In addition, their leg muscles are still unable to support the arches, which further contributes to the flattened look, and their bones are still very flexible. By the time they are 2 or 3, a visible arch may start to develop as their muscles and other tissues grow and strengthen.

Eventually, as children continue to grow and their bones develop, flat feet will disappear. However, in some cases a child’s arch may not develop as a result of a congenital issue, a short Achilles tendon, or a flexible or rigid flatfoot. Flatfeet, especially flexible flatfeet are generally painless but can lead to higher cases of bunions, hammertoes, or joint pain.

If you have concerns about your child’s foot development, have a foot care specialist examine and diagnose potential issues. Dr. Russell Samofal of Podiatry Center of New Jersey treats babies to seniors and specializes in reconstructive foot and ankle surgery, so no matter how severe the condition, he can accurately diagnose and treat the problem. Please contact us online or call us at (973) 925-4111 to schedule an appointment today!