As we get older, we experience many changes in our body. One of the most noticeable sign is bigger shoe size. But do you know when do feet stop growing? Or does it matter anyway? We believe it matters since it is important that you are wearing the right shoe size at any age.
Our shoe size when we were 25 years old will not be the same when we reach 40 and that only means our foot continues to grow because of several reasons. Dr.Steven Pribut from George Washington University Medical Center estimated that people over the age of 40 can double their shoe size for every decade.
When Do Feet Stop Growing: The Underlying Factors
From when we were born until we reach our teens, our body is changing and our bones are growing.
According to the American Podiatric Medical Association, the first year of a child’s life is the most crucial in his or her development. This is also when their feet grow significantly.
The usual concerns of most parents are how long their child will outgrow a pair of shoes. This is because toddlers years are when children’s foot grow fast.
Factors That Affect Foot Growth
Several factors can determine one’s foot growth.
- Hereditary factors play a big role in a child’s foot growth. Our genetic background can help us determine if we are likely to have bigger feet.
- Noticeable changes in the feet’s length occur at age 9-11 or the pre-teen years. The primary change is due to the growing phalanges and metatarsals. During the third to fourth month of the unborn, their feet’s long bones start to grow.
- The first two years of our life is when growth rapidly occurs. It continues at our adolescent stage also marked as spurt growth. At the age of 18-20, the lengthening will stop as the growth plates closed.
- The amount of pressure applied to the foot as an individual grows also has an effect on its development. Poorly fitting shoes, tight footwear, and coverings can restrict the foot’s natural growth and development according to California Podiatric Medical Association.
- Natural interference such as stretching of ligaments can also affect the foot’s natural growth pattern. Some people can still notice foot growth even at the age of 50s. Thyroid hormones, sex hormones, and growth hormones are important factors as well.
- Nutrition and supplements are also to be considered in the development of the bones and foot growth. Proper healthy food intake is a must to support bone growth and health.
- Gender also has something to say when it comes to foot growth. Girls’ foot can complete up to 90% at the age of 10 while boys tend to only complete 80%. At the age of 14, most girls will stop growing while boys tend to stop foot growth at the age of 16.
- Pregnancy can cause a woman’s foot to grow as the hormones that their body releases tend to loosen the foot’s ligaments. And because of pregnancy, women’s weight increases and their feet will carry the additional load. This will flatten the feet and lowers their arches which add up to the foot’s length.
- This is the same with most of us. As our weight increases, our foot size increases. As we age, our feet enlarge because its tendons and ligaments reduce its elasticity and can no longer hold the joints and toe fingers tightly.
Our foot’s main function is to absorb shock and provide support to our body. An adult’s foot consist of 26 bones while a child’s foot has fewer bones compared to it. As they grow older, their bones also continue to grow.
It is important that children wear the right shoes and socks size to accommodate their growing feet and avoid deformities. Basically, our feet flatten out as we get older. Thus, the arch lengthens resulting to longer feet.
So the answer to the question “when do feet stop growing ” actually depends on several factors mentioned above. Kids are unique so one might have bigger feet than the other kids. Our feet’s overall length can be determined by how we use and abuse it as we grow old.
Likewise, our genetic background and other natural factors like food nutrition and sleep can significantly affect our foot growth. So if you or someone your age has larger feet than yours that is pretty normal. Just make sure to wear the footwear that is comfortable to your feet.
Choose the right size of stockings, coverings, and other footwear to avoid giving your feet too much pressure. Don’t be too hard on your feet!