By the time you reach the age of 20 or 21, your feet have largely stopped growing, which means your shoe size at that age is the one you’ll have for the rest of your life, right? Not so fast. While your feet may no longer grow, they can certainly change, and that size 8 you’ve long been wearing may no longer be correct.
From a podiatrist’s perspective, wearing ill-fitting shoes is a leading driver of a wide range of foot problems. To give you an idea about the effects of improperly sized shoes, the team here at Apple Podiatry Group, including Dr. Jarna Rathod-Bhatt and Dr. Rahul Bhatt, outline five signs that the shoe might not, in fact, fit.
Changes in your foot size
Before we get into the signs that you might be wearing the wrong shoe size, let’s quickly review why you shouldn’t get locked into one shoe size. As we mentioned, after your feet complete their developmental growth, they can undergo changes later in life.
For example, when women get pregnant, the ligaments in their feet can stretch out, and their feet become longer and/or wider.
This same process can happen as you age, and you can develop adult-acquired flatfoot, which can very much change the size of your feet.
Rounding out the challenges, you may do a lot of ordering online, so you aren’t trying out many of your shoes first. This can be problematic because sizes can vary a great deal between manufacturers.
Signs your shoe doesn't fit
Now, let’s take a look at some obvious and not-so-obvious signs that you may be wearing the wrong-sized shoe.
1. Blisters, calluses, and other friction issues
Sure, when you get a new pair of shoes, there can be a breaking-in period during which you might develop a blister or callus. If, however, these friction issues continue after the break-in period, the shoe may be the wrong size.
2. Ingrown toenails
This is one result of ill-fitting shoes that can be very hard to ignore. One of the causes of ingrown toenails, which usually develop in your big toes, is shoes that crowd your toes. So, if you’re developing painful ingrown toenails, it’s time to swap out shoes that pinch the fronts of your feet for larger ones with roomier toe boxes.
3. Foot deformities such as bunions and hammertoes
If you have developed progressive foot deformity issues, such as bunions or hammertoes, it could be related to ill-fitting shoes. As with ingrown toenails, these deformities can be caused or exacerbated by shoes that cram your toes.
Bunions, for example, affect about 23% of adults, and women are more prone to the issue. One of the primary reasons behind the gender disparity is that women wear more high heels with pointy toes. While this may not be an issue of shoe size but rather shoe form, it would be remiss of us not to mention these common and irreversible foot deformities when discussing footwear.
4. Foot pain
All the signs we mentioned above can lead to foot discomfort if not foot pain, so why separate this sign? Beyond ingrown toenails and blisters, wearing shoes that aren’t the right size for your feet can cause an imbalance and lead to pain. Perhaps you have a dull ache in the arches of your feet or around the sides. Or, maybe you develop heel pain. The discomfort may be dull or crop up only after a long day, but it’s worth figuring out whether your shoes may be the culprit.
5. Ankle twisting and instability
Until this point, we’ve focused on shoes that are too small, but problems can arise if you wear shoes that are too big. If you’re frequently twisting your ankle or you don’t feel secure in your shoes, they might be too big.
A great way to figure out whether you might benefit from a different shoe size is to come to see us so that we can evaluate your feet and make some recommendations.
To get started, please contact the Apple Podiatry Group at one of our four convenient locations in Arlington, Fort Worth, and Flower Mound, Texas.