The child’s foot

In the beginning of the sixth week of pregnancy it begins to define itself. In the fourth month it duplicates its size. When born, an X-ray examination shows that its feet are far from having their normal structure. It presents forms of ossification and until the age of three the feet are protected by an adipose tissue. In its first years the foot’s size isn’t longer than 8 cm. , but becoming later strong and noble enough to support and stabilize the body.

The first three years are important for the generation of its basic form. Nevertheless, in prenatal stage problems may start in the mother’s womb due to the fetal position of the legs.
A percentage of the child’s feet problems are inherited , but there also is a percentage due to the position adopted by the child sleeping in the crib.


When born, the child presents “ the walking reflex” , even if it is not capable to bear its own weight, it possesses the instinct to walk.

At the age of 12 to 18 months it begins to take its first steps.

A child must never be forced to walk without the capacity to do it.

Its first steps will mean a run to its easiest side or nearest piece of furniture.

We must not forget that the health and the maturity process are more important than parent’s pride.

The most part of the apparent feet defects are natural and should get normal throughout the years.

If being 3 years old it still suffers this alterations (hurting feet- frequent tumbles- walking problems and foot pain at night- alterations of the toe’s conformation) the consultation with the podiatrist is a must.

The child’s footwear

Until the child begins to walk autonomously and by itself , the footwear means only a protection made of natural materials, flexible rubber plants and wide ends.

Once it begins to walk freely, the shoe wear must include a rigid heel reinforcement to support the pressures and impact of the heel when touching the ground.

It is highly alarming to find out that the female shoe fashion has influenced children’s footwear , altering the shoe’s ends and harmfully raising the heels. The so called correcting footwear don’t accomplish this goal, because no footwear may guess the future problems of its owner. Those existing in shoe shops must be considered as functional shoes.

The foot changes

At the age of 1 and 6 years it grows every 8 weeks
At the age of 6 and 10 years it grows every 12 weeks
At the age of 10 and 12 years it grows every 15 weeks
From 15 years on it grows every 20 weeks

Ungual injuries:

It is rare to find children presenting injuries in their nails, and more so, in children under 3 months. Today it is possible to observe onychodactylar injuries (nail-toe) meaning limiting and painful processes for the minors.

We must understand that the nail is a permanently growing annex of the skin, and that care and hygiene are vital for its normal development relating the foot.

There are so simple factors like cutting the child’s nails while in movement , a process generally not agreeable to it. So it will be necessary to cut them while sleeping, using a straight nail cutter for a right straight cutting, finishing by smoothly filing the lateral borders.

It is always necessary to keep the periungual spaces clean and without residues avoiding so the breeding of fungi and bacteriae, and brushing twice or three times a week, using a soft nailbrush.

When parents ask me why their children show ingrown nails, I always ask them to tell me how they proceed themselves, so I can make out the first answer.

When we cut our nails badly, we do the same with our children, thinking it is the best way.

The position adopted by the child when sleeping, specially when sleeping mouth down, affects its growing up when touching the mattress.

The relation existing among children with respiratory problems, like mouth breathing, repeated sinusitis, bronchospasm, a.s.o. and the nail injuries is correlative. The answer may be the sensibility of the nails when the oxygen lessens in their microcirculation, and how they are affected in the short or long term. In many years of practice the observed cases concerning this problem were frequent and by no means isolated.

The importance of taking care of so small details may be the best manner to avoid greater damages with painful consequences for your children. The injuries of nail trauma are generally caused by the fall of heavy objects on them. Children often walk barefoot in the house. The nail’s function is to PROTECT the phalanx and at hand’s level it allows the opposition to movement. At foot level they facilitate the feet’s takeoff from the ground.

Since Hippocrates it was given great importance to the nail’s aspect and if it showed a change of color or thickness. In account of it, I think it is necessary to be persistent in advising a good hygiene of the nails and taking enough time for their care. Never cut them in a round shape or as far as the nail clipper can reach.

The child’s foot doesn’t know yet it is a foot
And wants to be a butterfly
And an apple, but later the pieces of glass and the
Stones of the street, the staircases and the ways
Of the hard earth are teaching the foot that it can not be
The round fruit of the twig , the child is then defeated,
Was made a prisoner in the battle, condemned to live in a shoe.

Pablo Neruda. 

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