Children’s feet grow rapidly. In fact, a child typically gains about a centimeter of foot growth annually. From birth, to four years old a child’s foot can double in length. By the time a girl reaches the age of ten, she will have attained about ninety percent of her foot growth.
At the same age, boys have typically attained around eighty percent of lifelong foot growth. After the age of fourteen, a girl’s feet will have reached full, adult size. Boys’ feet typically continue to grow until around age sixteen.
Generally speaking, normal foot growth ceases for both girls and boys by the end of adolescence because the growth plates (located in the feet) stop growing. This does not mean that shoe size will stay the same throughout life, though. In the course of a person’s lifetime, shoe size can alter many times.
In this article, we will explore the factors that can affect shoe size and give some sound advice on foot care. Read on to learn more.
What are the factors that affect foot growth over time?
Age is one of the most common factors affecting foot growth and shoe size. The muscles supporting the foot bones can become weak with age. When this happens, bones may shift and feet may expand.
Fallen arches also tend to occur with the passage of time, and this can cause a change in foot size. People who must stand a lot or those who run may develop wider feet as they age.
Foot problems can cause feet to expand. For example bunions (bony growth at the base of the great toe) can cause shoe size to increase. If you are wearing tightly fitted shoes now, you should know that you are very likely to develop bunions, and once that happens, you’ll need to find comfortable shoes for bunions.
Pregnancy can cause feet to expand
A woman may gain a full shoe size during her first pregnancy. This change is typically permanent. It occurs because the hormones that serve the purpose of relaxing the pelvic area also loosen other ligaments, including those in the feet.
Additionally, the added weight of pregnancy tends to cause feet to widen and even become longer. Swollen ankles and feet during pregnancy are typical problem that many women experience when they are pregnant.
General weight gain expands shoe size
It is important to attain and maintain a healthy weight for your foot health and your general health and well-being. Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet; exercise regularly and massage and stretch your feet to keep them supple and strong.
What size should feet be?
There is no right or wrong size for feet. Many factors play into the size of your feet, including your height, weight and lifestyle. On average, men around the world wear around a size 9 shoe and women wear around a size 7, but obviously this varies greatly from country-to-country and person-to-person.
Regardless of the size of your feet, you should strive to wear well-fitted shoes. Ideally, your shoes should be half to a full size bigger than your measured size. This will give them room to expand naturally during the day without pressure. This extra room helps avoid foot injuries and problems, such as bunions.
When you fit your shoes, be sure that your big toe is not in contact with the toe of your shoe. All of your toes should have plenty of wiggle room.
The heels of your shoes should fit snugly so that you can walk and run without slipping and sliding inside your shoes.
Poorly fitted shoes can cause a lot of complications, such as those already mentioned and foot numbness, blisters, black toenails and general aches and pains.
The anatomy of the foot
Your foot is designed to absorb shock and support your body. Adult feet are made up of twenty-six bones and a complex array of ligaments, muscles, blood vessels and nerves. The structures of your foot must be able to shift, adapt and align in order to accommodate a variety of surfaces.
It’s easy to see that well-fitted shoes and proper foot care are very important to overall good health and safety. After the age of forty, you can expect to gain a half shoe size per decade due to average, everyday wear and tear. It is important that you accept this normal change gracefully and purchase well-made shoes in the right size to comfortably accommodate your feet for safe and healthy function.