Why do feet “grow” with age and how to fix them?

You put your shoes away and you find a pair of boots that you haven’t worn for two years. They’re practically new, so you try them out and think about what you might associate them with. But there is a problem: they no longer suit you! How is it possible when they fit you perfectly two years ago? You insist on trying to put them on, but they hug you as if they are one size smaller. You watch your feet and you don’t notice anything strange or different. If you think your feet have grown, then you are not far from reality.

At OMGIFacts, we are going to share with you what we have found regarding this curious subject. By reading the bonus at the end of the article, you will discover that the feet are not the only part of the body that “grows”.

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The wonderful structure of our feet

The feet have a wonderful and clever structure. Although their size is smaller than the rest of the body, they have several responsibilities. Thanks to the feet, we walk and we run. Humans are the only bipedal living beings, that is, who walk on two feet.

By observing the soles of our feet, we notice that they are not flat. They have an arch at the instep which fulfills a very important function: to support the whole weight of the body. The footrests on three points. The weight and energy of the whole body are distributed thanks to the arches, using the same space, and providing a better support area. The Romans used the arch formula for their impressive constructions, such as the Colosseum, a succession of arches, and perfect columns.

Reasons for the “growth” of the feet

Human beings reach their final size around the age of 21, the same goes for the feet. After this age, what we consider to be growth is actually wearing and tear on the arch. Over the years, the ligaments and tendons that are part of the anatomy of the feet lose elasticity.

As a result, the arch loses strength and shrinks. Suddenly, the foot lengthens and flattens. In reality, the foot does not grow, but it ages. After a certain age, we need an extra size or two. However, there are other causes which accentuate premature wear of the arch and which require us to buy larger shoes.

1. Pregnancy

During this period, the body produces a large amount of relaxin, a hormone that helps the ligaments and joints of the pelvis to be elastic, ready for the growth of the fetus and its future birth.

Other parts of the body also become elastic, such as the feet. It is common for pregnant women to wear a larger size for shoes. But this is not the case for everyone, it depends on each woman.

2. Overweight

If the feet have to support a weight higher than normal for the age and the corpulence of a person, the wear of the arch is accelerated and consequently, they “grow”. That is to say that the arch of the foot weakens and causes flat feet. The higher the weight, the more severe the wear. Obesity causes other problems, such as calluses that distort the width of the foot, due to the poor support achieved while walking.

3. Foot pathologies

Certain typical pathologies of the feet, such as onions, corns, hammertoes, and the like, can cause an enlarged or deformed foot. Often, people predisposed to suffer from these problems are those who suffer from other illnesses, such as diabetes.

The acromegaly is a lesion of the pituitary gland caused by excessive growth of the feet, hands, and other body parts. This disease is not very widespread.

How to delay the “growth” of the feet?

Although we cannot stop time and prevent the feet from being larger than usual, we can delay this phenomenon a bit, so to speak, by taking into account these four tips:

  • Physical activity: one way to strengthen the structure of the feet is to do a very easy exercise. It involves rolling a small ball, like a tennis ball, with bare feet.
  • Shoes: wear suitable shoes at all times and which allow cushioning when walking. It is also essential that the shoes are comfortable. Neither too large nor too tight.
  • Massages: especially after spending hours standing, massages help to relax and oxygenate the tissues of the feet.
  • Insoles: with good support for the arch of the foot.

Bonus: nose and ears develop with age

Now we know that the feet do not grow, but that they age or wear out. But it is not the same for the nose and the ears. These parts of the body grow with age and the explanation is very simple.

The ears and nose have more cartilage than bone. Cartilage is soft tissue, made up of collagen and fiber. With age, this tissue sags and loses elasticity. By cumulating this phenomenon with the inevitable stretching of the skin which covers them, the tip of the nose and the ears increase in volume. But let’s be reassured: they grow much less than what we see in the mirror.