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How Feet Change with Age

Published on April 23rd, 2020

It’s a fact of life that as we grow older, the flashier, less-practical shoes of our youth must be replaced with more sensible footwear. Many people of a certain age will notice that their shoe size has changed over the years, and that even a slight heel can cause unbearable discomfort. Today we’ll talk about the way your feet continue to develop throughout your adulthood, and the steps you can take to achieve the greatest comfort possible.

Size, Stiffness, and Stability Changes

With time, the tendons and ligaments in our bodies begin to weaken, while our joints become stiffer and less flexible. The result of loosening tendons and ligaments often includes the arch of our foot lowering and a wider, longer foot. Most people will notice their shoe size increasing over time, and many will experience arthritis in one or more areas of their body. These changes can also negatively impact your overall stability on your feet. If given a head start, some people may be able to stave off these changes with exercise, a good diet, and supplements to support their musculoskeletal system.

Toenails and Toe Position

It’s normal for your toes to shift into a new position to accommodate your own changes in mobility and lifestyle. Individuals may note that their toes now lean to the left or right, or that they tilt upwards more than before. Your toenails may also become misaligned or thicken and discolor over the years. If any of these changes occur suddenly, any one of them may be a sign of a different issue; gradual changes are most often just a sign of time’s toll.

Demand the Best

Aging feet need extra care! Whether you were a big ‘shoe person’ before or not, caring for your mature feet will require you to be one now. Look for comfortable shoes with arch support for your arch type, a heel no higher than 1”, and ample room for your toes. Even if you feel you know what size shoes to buy, it’s a good idea to have a professional measure your feet to confirm your current size. No matter your age—it’s better to buy shoes that are comfortable on day 1, and to never expect shoes to loosen up or become more comfortable with wear.

How We Can Help

Our podiatrists in Lake Zurich remain available to provide treatment remotely through the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the ailments associated with aging do not require an in-person appointment for assessment and treatment. If you are having any issues with your feet, please contact us to set up a telehealth appointment.

Call for an Appointment (847) 540-9949 or Book Appointment