Know why your feet get bigger as you age, according to science

Yes, it’s not your imagination that you may have gone up a shoe size or two over the years. Feet flatten over time due to a loss of elasticity in supporting tendons and ligaments, resulting in a lower arch and an elongation of the sole, along with a spreading of the toes. Pregnancy and weight gain can also increase your shoe size

Know why your feet get bigger as you age, according to science

By the time you reach your 50th birthday, you’ve probably also reached another milestone: you’ve put 75,000 miles on your feet. You may reach this milestone much earlier if you’ve led a foot-active lifestyle.

By age 50, you may have lost nearly half of the fatty padding on the soles of your feet.

And you may be wearing a shoe that’s a size bigger than what you wore in your 20s, in part because of weight gain that puts greater pressure on your feet, and in part because your ligaments and tendons have lost some of their elasticity (which also predisposes them to potentially painful ruptures or microtears).

If you’ve given birth, you have another reason for the increase in shoe size: hormones released during pregnancy also cause ligaments to relax.

Menopause, too, can affect foot health. Unless countered by medications or exercise, the loss of estrogen and other hormonal changes generally lead to lower bone density, resulting in osteoporosis if enough bone mass is lost.

This condition can raise the risk of stress fractures (hairline breaks) in any of the bones of the foot. Unless treated appropriately, stress fractures can worsen and cause the bones to shift out of place.

Why your shoe size should be in accordance to your shoe length?

Proper shoe size is an important element of foot health, especially in the elderly and diabetic populations. An improper fit can lead to pain, functional limitations, and falls.

The aim of the present study was to determine the proportion of adults who are unaware of their own shoe size in 3 different New York City populations: a foot specialist private practice, an academic diabetic foot and ankle clinic, and a charity care center, the Bowery clinic, serving the homeless.

A shoe size mismatch was defined as a difference of at least 0.5 in size between the measured foot and the shoe size. Demographic data were collected during the examination and retrospectively by chart review. A total of 235 volunteers participated in our study.

A significant difference in the prevalence of the measured foot and shoe size mismatch was found between the cohort from the private practice compared with both the diabetic foot and ankle clinic and the Bowery clinic (P < .01 and P < .01, respectively).

A significant difference was also detected (P < .05) between the private practice and the Bowery mission cohort when a difference of at least 1.5 sizes was present between the measured foot and the shoe size.

Of those with a foot to shoe size mismatch, 60% had a difference of more than 0.5 in the shoe size between their right and left foot.

In conclusion, our findings suggest that proper footwear sizing is lacking among a large proportion of our patients and that an adequate shoe size can be achieved with proper counseling.