The average American will walk over 100,000 miles in his or her lifetime, most before middle age. Every one of those millions of steps is a stress on the bones, muscles, and ligaments of the feet. You probably know that anatomical changes including bunions and hammertoes can occur over time, but do you know that this wear and tear can also lead to a change in shoe size, especially when combined with natural changes that occur with age? Some people will experience slight growth or no growth at all; others will experience as much as a half size increase every 10 years after they turn 40. At that rate, your feet would be three sizes bigger at your 100th birthday party!
You’re probably not able to wear the blue jeans you wore in high school any longer, and the same may be true for your shoes. When was the last time you had your feet professionally measured? It’s essential to purchase shoes that accommodate your feet as they are, not at they used to be. New shoes in a different size can be especially important for patients with frequent ingrown toenails, corns, or other deformities caused by diabetes or arthritis.
In addition to age and illness, there are several reasons for foot size change. Obesity is near the top of the list. A healthy diet containing plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean meats is critical for every aspect of your well being, and foot health is no exception. Excess weight makes natural age-related flattening and widening of the feet even worse. Skip the junk food and choose foods from the perimeter of the grocery store where healthier choices can be found.
Fallen arches are another contributing factor to age-related foot growth. Time and gravity cause ligaments and tendons to loosen throughout the body. This is especially problematic in the plantar fascia, which runs along the bottom of the foot. As the plantar fascia becomes permanently stretched, it causes the arch of the foot to drop and the foot to get wider and longer. If you’re noticing that your shoes are less comfortable than usual at the arch, it may be time for a new, different-sized pair.
Are your shoes uncomfortable? Is it harder than it used to be to stand or walk comfortably? Call Podiatry Group of Annapolis, P.A. at 410-224-4448 or click here for an appointment at our convenient office on Solomons Island Road in Annapolis, MD. Dr. James M. McKee will thoroughly examine your feet, diagnose any existing or potential issues, and work with you to create a unique and effective treatment plan that just might include some new footwear in a bigger size.