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Here’s Why Your Baby Shoes Don’t Need Arch Support
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Parents are prone to freaking out about every little detail of their child’s development. You’ve sniffed, squeezed and admired your child until you know every aspect of them, right down to the pudginess of their feet.
Once you’re that familiar with something, it’s only natural to start fretting about potential abnormalities. Take those pudgy feet. They just don’t look the way you think feet should look.
For instance, where’s your baby’s foot arch? Should you start putting them in shoes with arch support to prod their development in the right direction?
We’re here to tell you HECK NO!
Babies Are Typically Flat Footed
To put you at ease, flat feet in babies is perfectly normal. You probably won’t even see your baby’s arch for the first two years of their life. In fact, it’s usually a missing piece of the puzzle until your child is 6 to 10 years old .
Your baby is flat footed because their leg and foot muscles aren’t yet strong enough to support their arches when they step up their walking efforts. The ligaments that will eventually create the arch in their foot remain supple until your child’s about 5 years old.
In the meantime, they have a fatty pad in the arch area that offers natural arch support – and explains the pudginess that makes baby’s feet so endearing.
The best arch support your child can get
In time, your baby should naturally develop a healthy foot arch. You can help in this cause by not forcing those feet into restrictive shoes. In fact, many experts suggest children should spend as much time as possible barefoot. Yep, there’s that barefoot philosophy again.
Many studies have shown that in societies where kids tend to go about barefoot, there’s less incidence of flat feet . What does that mean? That mobility and muscle strength may have an important role to play in developing foot arches in toddlers.
So if your child is showing signs of healthy and strong foot development, the best thing you could do for their arch development is to let them run amok. Don’t worry about suffering through getting and keeping their shoes on .
Let them run feral, barefoot, whether it’s on sand or uneven terrain (which will demand greater muscle strengthening). And only think about putting on those soft sole or flexible shoes when it’s a matter of temperature or safety
A case for arch support
Of course, we’ve gotta have a word for those who are troubled by their child’s foot development. Because not all kids’ feet develop “normally”.
And in these cases, they might need some additional support. If your child is complaining of pain or discomfort, take them along to your paediatrician or podiatrist. By 4 or 5 years’ old, a specialist should be able to judge whether your child has flat feet and prescribe the best solution.
Have we put your mind at ease? No doubt, you’ll just move onto a new concern. But on this topic at least, we hope the case is clear; your child does not need shoes with all the latest in arch support design.
Don’t be fooled! Your kid’s best stab at healthy arch development is no support at all – except for what Mother Nature’s already endowed them with. And if your baby does need shoes to protect them against the cold or rough terrain, go for flexible shoes that help your child’s feet grow as nature intended.