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How does the foot change over time? Does the foot shape shift, becoming larger or smaller?

How does the foot change over time? Does the foot shape shift, becoming larger or smaller?

 

Your feet flatten and become longer and wider over time, as our ligaments and tendons become more lax due to the cumulative effects of gravity and repetitive stress of weight bearing activities. Foot conditions that are acquired such as arch pain or genetically inherited such as bunion deformities, gradually progress and become more prominent over time because of these forces.

 

As you age, the fat pad underneath your foot also becomes thinner leading to a condition known as fat pad atrophy. As the skin loses this underlying protective padding, the formation of painful corns and calluses develop because the skin lies between a bony prominence inside the foot and the shoe or weight bearing surface on the outside. Essentially the skin lies between a rock and a hard place and this can become very painful. 

 

Weight gain also can change the mechanics of your gait and place extra pressure on your feet and ankles. This can lead to pain in the heels and balls of your feet, and also lead to the formation of ingrown toenails and varicose veins. All three of these conditions are commonly experienced by women during pregnancy as fluid accumulates in the lower extremities.  Swelling can cause those poor little toes to push up against your toes nails causing them to become ingrown. The accumulation of fluid can also be difficult on your veins and lead to the formation of varicosities. Last but not least It is very common for women to experience heel pain with the extra weight placed onto your feet with every step.

 

Arthritis can occur not only with age but with strenuous activity. Your feet have more than 30 joints and they can degenerate over time.  Athletes sometimes experience pain and stiffness in the midfoot or big toe joints which typically worsens at night.

 

Last but not least, with simple wear and tear, lack of proper hydration, and age, our skin produces less collagen and our feet become more prone to cracking and dryness and our nails may become more brittle and discolored.  

  

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU GET YOUR FEET MEASURED WHEN BUYING SHOES?

It’s important to measure your feet yearly with a Brannock Device or more if you notice that your feet are becoming wider or more painful with shoe gear.

 



Author
Dr. Miguel Cunha Dr. Miguel Cunha, founder of Gotham Footcare and a leading podiatrist in Manhattan, is a highly trained and skilled foot and ankle surgeon with experience treating a wide array of foot and ankle conditions from minor problems to complex reconstructive foot and ankle surgery. Dr. Cunha takes pride in having a genuine interest in each and every one of his patients while providing them the utmost compassion and exceptional care.

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