What can cause your feet to get bigger and what can you do about it?

Why Are Your Feet Getting Bigger?

feet getting biggerYou may have noticed, especially as you’re getting older, that your feet are getting bigger. The shoes that used to fit you no longer are adequate and you find yourself shopping for shoes that may be wider or longer. Why is this? There are multiple reasons but for this blog, I’ve narrowed it down to five.

Mileage on your feet

The mileage of walking all your life or running on your feet has a lot to do with this. The simple act of the thousands of steps we take daily has an impact. With each step two to three times your body weight comes down on your feet. The ligaments that hold and maintain the arch tend to get stretched over time and this will allow the arch to flatten and possibly the foot to get wider.


Having additional weight on your feet can also contribute to them becoming bigger. With additional weight, the foot may splay apart and widen and the ligaments that support the arch get stretched so the foot lengthens. It’s also been noted that the average shoe size for men and women has increased from years ago and this may be due to increased obesity in the general population. So, a size 13 shoe for a man may be closer to an average size now than it was years ago.

Foot Deformities

Foot deformities are also something that may be impacting you. For example, a bunion deformity, where there’s a bump by the big toe joint and the first toe may be deviating towards the second toe will make your foot wider. Also, on the opposite side of the foot, you may have what’s referred to as a bunionette or tailor’s bunion. This will cause a prominence on the outer side of the foot by the small toe. If these deformities progress over your lifetime it’s going to make your foot wider.

Diseases That You May Have

This would include people that have rheumatoid arthritis or maybe diabetes where the foot might break down and lead to a longer or wider foot. The joints and ligaments of the foot can be negatively affected by both of these.


With pregnancy, the body releases a hormone called relaxin. Relaxin aids in relaxing the birth canal in preparation for the delivery. This can also cause the ligaments in the foot to become more flexible and can cause the arch to flatten and the foot to get wider. Also, the weight gain associated with pregnancy can contribute.

What Can Be Done to Correct This?

More support for your feet

One of the most basic things would be to use arch supports or custom-made orthotics that you can get from a podiatrist. By doing this, it creates more support for the foot and there may be less impact of your body weight on the foot that would lead to the foot lengthening or getting wider. You may also consider wearing shoes that are more supportive.

Control your weight

Weight gain has a big impact on how flat your feet may get. The larger your body, the more impact that this will have on the progression of a longer and wider foot. Anything that helps you to maintain your weight is a good idea.

So don’t be surprised as you get older if your feet are getting bigger. There’s really nothing to worry about as this is a normal part of aging, but do consider the suggestions in this blog that may slow down the progression.

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