Are my feet really growing?
If you are in your 30’s or 40’s and you swear your feet must be growing because your shoes are getting tight, you are not alone. I am often asked by patients “Why are my feet a different size than they were when I was younger?” This is actually very common for people in this age range. The truth is that the foot does increase in size.
Why does this happen?
This happens because of the gradual collapse of the arch of the foot. This isn’t necessarily a dramatic, painful drop that is readily noticeable, but something that occurs very slowly. Let’s say you were to build a rock arch and put it up in your backyard. You would notice that 30 or 40 years later, that rock arch does not look the same as it did when you built it. In spite of the wondrous design of the human foot, the miles add up. The ligaments that support the 26 bones of the foot gradually weaken, causing the arch to fall. As that part comes down, the foot elongates. Often times, this means going up one and even two shoe sizes larger.
Remember growing pains?
I would liken this phenomenon to the growing pains that occur in adolescence. As the foot elongates it creates a passive and active strain on the ligaments, tendons and muscles in the foot that often lead to some of the more common conditions that present here in our office. These conditions include plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendonitis, other tendon issues in the foot, as well as bunions and neuromas.
What is the solution?
The best thing to do is to get custom insoles to support your foot during this transitional phase of life. These orthotics are streamlined, thin and will allow you to continue to wear fashionable shoes while having the support that you need. We take a cast of your foot and then send it to a lab to pour a plaster mold and have essentially a “bust” of your foot. Then, they design the orthotic specific to that shape. This orthotic is made of a thin, graphite, composite that holds up for anywhere between 7 to 10 years. For most patients, this is an integral portion of their treatment protocol, and we are able to create a custom product at an affordable price. We also have new regenerative medicine therapies that combined with custom orthotics, can help people get back to their normal activities much faster than other treatments before.
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