When do the foot bones completely develop?

Understanding how the bones develop in the foot will help parents understand the critical times for ensuring that little feet are protected and cared for with good footwear.


The foot bones have primary ossification centers where the bones start forming as early as 2 months gestational age, and secondary ossification centers which appear later after birth from 6 months old and then eventually these bone centers fuse with the lower leg bone. The bones in the midfoot (where the foot arches are) and the hindfoot (heel of the foot) mainly develop from 3 months gestational age to 5 years old and the heel bone has a secondary ossification center that appears at 5-12 years before fusing completely at 12-22 years old.
When children have poor footwear or have laxed ligaments they may collapse or roll their feet, which causes the bones to grow and develop incorrectly in the direction of the muscle pull and force pressures. Once the bones grow out of shape, it is often not possible to turn back time and correct the misshapen bones! Our bones are always growing in response to force pressures, so misshapen foot bones can keep growing and cause problems over time as they change the alignment of the ankle, knee and hip!
That is why in the first 5 years of life, it is vitally important to ensure that little feet are developing correctly and that children have correct supportive shoes to suit their needs. If in doubt, check with a Paediatric Physiotherapist today!