Foot Health

Growing feet

The feet support your entire body. They make it possible for us to walk, run, climb, and stand. They also work to keep you stable and balanced. When you’re a child, your feet grow rapidly each year. The growth rate is even faster during puberty, as your body changes from a child to an adult. Your bones, including the ones in your feet, get bigger during this time.

Generally, feet stop growing around 20 or 21 years old. But it’s possible for a person’s feet to keep growing into their early 20s. It also depends on when you started puberty. Everyone grows at different rates. For example, if you started puberty early, your body and feet may stop growing sooner than other people. Genetics play a role, too.

Some people feel like their feet are getting bigger later in life. In reality, growing feet are usually due to age-related changes like weight gain or loose ligaments. It’s also common to experience an increase in feet size during pregnancy.

When do feet stop growing in males?

Boys usually go through puberty typically between ages 10 and 15 and feet usually stop growing at age 20. The most noticeable changes will likely happen during growth spurts in puberty. Usually, girls start puberty earlier, between age eight to 13 years old and the feet stop growing around age 20. During this time, feet will grow rapidly as she goes through the growth spurts. During childhood and adolescence, the bones in the feet get bigger and this makes the feet grow. When the bones stop growing in your 20s, your feet stop growing, too. They won’t keep growing throughout life. Still, your feet can change as you get older. These changes alter the size of your feet, but they don’t involve actual bone growth.

Your feet may increase in size due to:

Decreased elasticity: After years of using your feet, your tendons and ligaments lose elasticity. This makes your feet longer and wider.

Weight gain: Weight loss and maintenance is more difficult later in life. Gaining weight puts pressure on the pads of your feet, making them spread.

Physical deformities: As you get older, you’re more likely to develop bunions and hammertoes. You may have to wear a bigger shoe size in order to comfortably wear shoes.

As children are getting ready to return to school after almost a year of being home, their feet and shoes must be checked. There may have been significant growth in the feet as well as changes in the condition of their school shoes like dry rotting and shrinkage. Parents should take the time to check their child’s feet and shoes before returning to school.

Parents can help care for their children’s feet by following these simple tips:

• Always have your child’s feet measured for length and width before buying shoes.

• Always fit shoes with the child standing because the foot spreads on weight-bearing.

• Check the size of their socks and shoes regularly for fit, condition and wear.

• Check shoe sizes every one to three months up to age three, every four months to age five, and every six months from five years onward.

• If possible, do not allow your child to wear the same shoe every day. Alternate the child’s shoes to allow them to dry out, especially if the feet are sweaty.

• Be especially careful and observe the feet after wearing new shoes, they can cause blisters and sores if they don’t fit properly.

• Inspect feet regularly for inflamed nails, red pressure areas on the foot, top of the toes, around the ankle and at the back of the heel.

• Good foot hygiene is vital. Wash their feet daily with simple soap and water and dry well, particularly between the toes. After drying, a small amount of talcum powder or moisturizers can be used. Children have naturally sweaty feet, but smelly feet may be an indication of poor hygiene or an infection.

• The toenails should be inspected regularly and trimmed as required. Cut the nails straight across and never cut down into the corners or cut them too short.

• For more information on foot conditions, visit www.apma.org, healthcentral.com, or email us at foothealth242@gmail.com. To see a podiatrist, visit Bahamas Foot Centre, Rosetta Street, or telephone 325-2996 for an appointment at Bahamas Surgical Associates Centre, Hilltop Medical, or call 394-5820 for an appointment. You can also visit Lucayan Medical Centre in Freeport, Grand Bahama, or telephone 373-7400 for an appointment.

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