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New GPPs – foot and walking development

9th March 2021

In support of National Feet Week (#NFW 8-14 March 2021), we are delighted to publish two new Good Practice Points (GPPs) for health visitors.

Children’s feet should follow a typical pattern of development, however, these changes are often poorly understood by both parents and health professionals. Health visitors have an important role in helping parents to navigate this information and, to support you in practice, we have produced two new Good Practice Points:

GPP – Foot development in infancy and early childhood

  • Foot development is important. Changes in the shape, structure and function of feet occur throughout infancy, childhood and into late adolescence. During infancy (birth – two years old), there are rapid changes in foot size and shape. Health visitors should consider healthy feet as key to supporting infants as they begin to stand, learn to walk and explore their world. Understanding about how feet change in size, structure, shape is helpful to convey positive health messages and reassurance where needed

GPP – Overview of walking development in infancy and early childhood

  • Common concerns around milestones related to walking include whether the development is typical (or not), if the shape and development of the feet are correct, if the infant is walking correctly, and what types of shoes parents should buy to support their infant’s feet during early weight bearing. Through understanding the typical changes that take place during the early years, health visitors can advise parents, offer reassurance and refer for additional support and assessment when it is appropriate.

Also read great Voices blog by Stewart C. Morrison, Reader in Children’s Podiatry, School of Health Sciences, University of Brighton – Thinking about feet….


Please note that GPPs are available to iHV members.

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The iHV is a self-funding charity – we can only be successful in our mission to strengthen health visiting practice if the health visiting profession and its supporters join us on our journey. We rely on our membership to develop new resources for our members.

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