Growing pains: Why you should measure your feet today

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When you hit your late teenage years, you were able to start buying the same size of shoes every time you needed a new pair. And for the most part, you have probably been able to continue to do so, perhaps even buying the same brand and style time and time again. But as your body ages, it changes, and that includes your feet. After a few decades of being walked on, your feet can flatten out, and even grow! That's why you should get your feet measured today if you haven't done so in a while.

Ignoring these changes in your feet can lead to discomfort at best and severe pain at worst. It can affect your quality of life and your ability to be productive at work, especially if you need to stand all day. That discomfort can easily shift into a more serious problem such as hammer toes or bunions.

As you age, your ligaments loosen and your feet get wider.As you age, your ligaments loosen and your feet get wider.

How do feet change?
Gravity and body weight are two key factors in how your feet change shape over time. Decades of walking will eventually flatten your feet – though the extent and speed at which this happens will vary by individual. Your genes and lifestyle certainly play significant roles, but no one can avoid gravity.

The Cleveland Clinic spoke with Joy Rowland, a podiatrist, about the issue. This is what she had to say: "Over time and through gravity, our feet tend to get longer and wider. That happens after our ligaments and our tendons become a little bit more lax over time."

The change is nothing to fear, but it will affect the way you wear your shoes. After a few years you may have to move up a size or get an orthotic insert. You may also experience more foot pain, as the fatty cushion at your heel becomes thinner over time, the Cleveland Clinic reported. These are all natural processes and they don't need to negatively impact your quality of life.

On the job
These changes can be subtle, as they happen over long periods of time. If you've noticed an increased amount of discomfort when you're on your feet all day, this might just be the cause. And while you might be able to ignore foot pain for a while, it will eventually affect the quality of your work. In industries that require workers to stand while helping customers, assisting patients or working machinery, the ability to stand without experiencing discomfort is highly important. If you experience foot pain or discomfort, it may impede your ability to focus on the job – that could be dangerous for you and those around you.

Not only can wearing the wrong shoe cause you foot pain, it can hurt other parts of your body, causing pain in the lower back. The International Sports Sciences Association reported that performing physical activities in the wrong shoe can even cause shin splints!

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Next steps
If you've had the same pair of shoes for a long time, chances are they're getting a little worn out. Before ordering your next pair of shoes, measure your feet to make sure you get the right size. And for additional protection, consider safety shoes with slip-resistant soles. Foot-related accidents and injuries are no joke. They can cause serious, costly problems. If you're worried about your feet flattening over time, check with your doctor about possible solutions. Oftentimes, an over-the-counter orthotic is sufficient to solve the issue.

Feet change over time. If you don't keep up with them, it could mean painful problems down the line. Get them measured today!

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