Putting on socks - video clips of 3 children

Putting on socks  is a task children commonly encounter, and which, by the age of 5-6 years are expected to be able to do independently. 

These video clips provide insight into how the task is performed by an adult and three children aged 8, 7 and 4 years. 

Some important features to notice

Flexibility requirements

Bringing the hands to the foot to pull the sock over the toes requires full range of hip flexion along with some flexion in the lower trunk, along with full flexion of the knee.

If the foot is lifted onto the opposite knee, then a good range of flexion/lateral rotation in needed 

Stabilization of the lower limb

Keeping the foot steady as the sock is pulled over the foot requires effective stabilizing action of the hip, knee and ankle muscles. 

Stabilization of the toes

The ankle is usually held in a degree of dorsiflexion, and the toes tend extend as the foot is held steady when the sock is first pulled over the toes.

An effective grip

The soft and flexible material of the sock needs to be held in a firm grip as the sock is pulled up over the foot. 

Pam (older adult) putting on socks 

Will (aged 7) putting on socks sitting on a stool

At 7 years Will is well able to put on his knee high school sock, but it still takes time. 

Notice how he still has difficulty holding the lower limb steady and he works to pull the sock up. 

Will (aged 7) putting on socks - sitting on the floor

Sitting on the floor Will is able to rest the heel of the foot on the supporting surface to steady it as he pulls the sock over the foot. 

Max, 4 years, putting on socks

In this video you see me helping Max to put on his sock. I first get the sock ready by inserting  the foot of the sock into the leg. I talk about what I am doing to help him to learn the sequence of events needed for putting on a sock.

Notice how Max has difficulty grasping the sock for the grip and pull maneuver.