Perhaps not everyone knows that the baby feet are naturally flat and that only through the stimulations received from the external environment, in particular when the child begins to walk, joints, muscles and ligaments are transformed giving their contribution to the formation of the plantar arch which is formed only after 3 years of age.
Since, then, it is the feet that allow the child to walk, it is important to take care of them as well as, if not more, of the other limbs, with shoes suitable for the different needs of the baby and specific exercises that help prevent later attitudes and incorrect postures, for example, flat or hollow feet.
Just to give some data and some general indications, we can say that it is among the 10 and 15 months that the little ones experience, with the support of mum and dad, their first steps. To achieve this great achievement, however, the baby had to go through a series of stages that led him to assume an upright position: first of all, at around 3 months he had to learn to sitand then, around 8/10 months, he had to learn the difficult art of crawlinga very useful activity for the development of the muscles which, later on, will have to support the weight of the child’s erect body.
In these early stages, beyond the fact that there are suitable footwear for all ages, it would be good for the feet to remain free as much as possible and the shoes only have a protective function against the cold: in fact, it is precisely through the foot that the infant begins to explore the world, receiving information, so to speak, “tactile”. The feet should therefore be left free to touch, feel and move without forcing them into uncomfortable shoes that would make their movements more difficult.
During the “crawl” phaseInstead, it is good to choose shoes that allow him to move freely and facilitate his movements on all fours, taking into account the fact that the part of the foot that rests on the ground is the front one and that, consequently, the shoes should be reinforced on the front to protect the foot and very flexible so as not to weigh down the baby and allow him to slide comfortably.
After 14 months, and in any case when the child begins to walk, it is important to choose comfortable shoes, of the right size, with a rounded toe, a flexible and flat sole, without heel and without rigid buttresses on the ankles. The advice is, in any case, to leave the little one free to walk around barefoot whenever the ground allows it, i.e. in the presence of grass, sand and uneven ground, to help him find his natural balance by soliciting the plant of the feet. On the other hand, avoid the use of orthopedic shoes in the presence of flat feet since, as we have said, it is completely natural in the infant.
After 3 years the experts recommend a specialist visit to the podiatrist who will be able to give precise indications on the correct development of the feet and the musculoskeletal system and will find the right therapy in case of defects and real anomalies by subjecting the child to foot gymnastics aimed at resolving the specific disorder.
As for the choice of shoes, it is important that these, in addition to the above characteristics, are of the right size and that the socks are not excessively tight by compressing the toes. An effective method to measure the size of the child, since he is not able to feel the rightness, is to put a card under his feet, trace the outline with a pen, cut it out and insert the imprint thus obtained in the shoe. . The test must be repeated quite frequently as children’s feet can suddenly grow two or three sizes.