Foot development

Undisturbed foot development promotes healthy growing up

Children need time and opportunity to be allowed to be small

In June 2019, we had a lecture evening on “Child Foot Development” with physiotherapist and child therapist Silke Lucht as guest speaker with us in the POLOLO ShowRoom. Below are some notes.

Motor and sensory experiences begin near the ground

Foot development is inextricably linked to the maturation of perception and organs: For healthy early childhood development in the run-up to learning to crawl and walk, it is important to have motor and sensory experiences on the ground first. This is because one’s own body must be explored extensively and the environment must be felt intensively in order to create an image of oneself and the world in the brain.

Falling down is part of the learning process

It is of elementary importance for the little ones to be allowed to experience sensorimotor development “without gaps”, i.e. without shortcuts and aids. Each individual learning progress, which also involves effort and mistakes, must be experienced by the children themselves. Adults should of course watch out for the risk of injury, but otherwise not intervene, but always encourage the child to try again after falling down.

Barefoot walking is ideal

In order to avoid misalignments caused by shoes that are too tight or too wide, understraining and atrophying or incorrectly stressing the muscles and connective tissue, but also isolating the senses from the environment, it is beneficial to let the little ones walk barefoot or in soft leather shoes as often as is reasonable. Street shoes have only two functions for healthy feet: protection from injury and prevention of hypothermia.

Buying shoes: It’s all about the right size!

To determine the actual size required, children can be placed upright on a piece of cardboard to create a template and the contours of both feet can be traced vertically with a pencil – a thumb’s width should be added for the length so that the feet can roll in a relaxed manner (measurement is best taken in the afternoon, as foot size varies during the course of the day). Shoes that are too small lead to an impeded rolling motion, shoes that are too big lead to unergonomic cramping and “clawing”. Therefore, shoes should never be “stocked up”, but only bought to fit. Shoes that are soft and malleable in relation to all axes are considered “ideal” for children’s foot development, so that all foot muscles are regularly challenged. The sole in particular should be soft. For healthy children, it would be counterproductive to use an orthopaedic sole or a pre-formed footbed – heels should also be avoided for the sake of health.

Detailed blog post:
Children’s shoes: Less is more! POLOLO retailers‘ lecture evening in the POLOLO ShowRoom on learning to walk