Do your feet get bigger as you age?

Custom orthothics

Have you noticed that your feet get bigger as time goes by? Did you notice that Grandpa seems to get a little shorter every year at Thanksgiving?

There is a reason for this, it’s gravity. We all feel the force of gravity pulling down on us. As we age our muscles and tendons tire, resulting in the “Skeletal Frame” not being supported like it once was, which leads to height loss. Your feet are full of muscles and tendons, but they are affected in a different way, they will spread out.

Pressure =force divided by area.

Your foot spreads out to create a larger surface area on the plantar aspect, or bottom of your foot. More area means less pressure and less demand on muscles and tendons. If your feet, knees or ankles are bothering you, and you’ve been wearing the same size shoe for 40 years, you might try a longer pair! If you have no foot ankle or knee pain the of course don’t change a thing.

There was an ergonomic study done by Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health Sciences, Sapporo Medical University, Japan on the effects of the center of gravity and the foot pressure. They looked at the standing balance associated with ageing.

The results suggest that the maximal displacement of head and lumbar positions combined with the toe’s muscle activity in the forefoot are important factors associated with the center of gravity in elderly adults.

There was also a study done by Orthopedic Journal of Sports Physical Therapy 

about how orthotics can improve the balance in the elderly. Other investigators have examined the influence of shoe inserts on balance, based on the hypothesis that such inserts may enhance somatosensory stimulation of the skin on the plantar aspect of the foot.

The Orthopedic journal of sports physical therapy observed immediate improvements in static and dynamic measures of balance in older adults following the placement of custom foot orthoses in their laced walking shoes. These improvements were maintained at 2 weeks following the intervention.


We have notice that a type of diabetic orthotic covering call P-Cell help relieves some of the symptoms of nephropathy. This covering can also be added directly to the top of your current shoes insert without spending the money associated with custom inserts if balance or other foot problems are not an issue. You can email us at [email protected] with any question you may have.