when do kids feet stop growing

when do kids feet stop growing

Your feet are an important part of the human body. They allow you to walk, run, and jump. They also contain approximately 25 percent of all the bones in the body. The biomechanics of how all these bones work to support our weight is also quite impressive. If you’re a parent reading this blog, you’re probably asking yourself,

“When will my kid’s feet stop growing , or when will the growth spurt end so I’m not having to buy new shoes all the time?”

Yes, it is normal for children’s shoes not to be worn down before they are outgrown. So here are some facts to consider about the foot and how it grows.

The Growth Plates

The bones of the foot contain regions called growth plates. These are areas within that are composed of cartilage. It is from these areas the bone is formed and allows the bone to lengthen and grow in size. It is also an area of the bone that is weaker and more prone to injury in the developing foot. Once the child arrives at puberty these growth plates will close and become solid bone. There will no longer be any cartilage within the bone.

At What Age do Most Kids Feet Stop Growing?

By age 10, ninety percent of the foot growth will be completed in girls, and eighty percent will be completed in boys. For girls, most of their foot growth will be completed by age 14 and for boys it will be age 16. Feet will also go through various growth spurts. This increased growth rate could occur during puberty and in the early years. By age 3, the foot may go through 9 shoe sizes and can double in length between birth and age 4. You may also hear that the foot grows one inch per year of life. Growth rate is not always predictable regarding the child’s year of life, but it can vary. It is interesting to note that a kid’s feet stops growing before the rest of the body.

measuring kids feet growth rate anderson podiatry center

Sizing Shoes

Because of the rapid growth in a child’s foot, it is important to make sure kid shoes fit properly. Thinking about when do kid’s feet stop growing should not be the concern. Make sure you are careful choosing the appropriate shoe size. Make sure there is plenty of room in the toe box of the shoe. Always keep ahead of the foot growth. Don’t be afraid of buying shoes more frequently as too tight a shoe can help develop foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes in the adult foot, or will purely just be uncomfortable. In infants, occasionally we will see infants that are not walking. We will see the parent’s keeping socks on their feet and, if they are too tight, ingrown nails can occur. So, if this occurs, simply keep them out of socks or buy larger ones.

Can the Adult Foot Become Larger?

Yes, the following are reasons that the adult foot size can change:

  • Pregnancy: During pregnancy a hormone called relaxin is released and this will cause the ligaments of the foot to become more flexible leading to an increase in shoe size
  • Obesity: Just the added weight on the foot will strain the ligaments and joints causing an increased shoe size. And as obesity is becoming more prevalent, especially in the United States, feet are getting larger. As we get older our ligaments that support the bony structure may start to break down. The average adult shoe size has increased over the last thirty years from 7.5 to 8.5 in women and 8.5 to 9.5 in men.

So What Can You Do About Your Kids Feet Growing?

If you have any concerns about the development of your children’s feet, please consider making an appointment with a local foot doctor. Better to listen to your podiatrist, not your shoe salesperson! Also, pain is not normal, so make sure if the child is experiencing foot pain, it is important to have their feet evaluated.

Dr. James Anderson, DPM, ABPS, FACFS, FAENS

© Anderson Podiatry Center