Growing feet are a big inconvenience and a money pit. One day, the shoe fits just right; blink an eye, and it is too big.
Imagine what would have happened if Cinderella had outgrown her shoes! Ever thought of that?
Luckily, it didn’t. So, when do you think your glass slippers will become your perfect life partner? Or is that day ever going to come?
Sure, it is. Keep reading to know exactly when you can stop discarding your small shoes and start saving your choices to build a shoe wardrobe.
When Do Feet Stop Growing?
Feet stop growing a few years after you hit puberty. So, boys stop growing their feet at the ages between 20 and 21, and girls around 17-19.
Boys hit puberty between the ages of 10 and 15, and their foot growth slows between the ages of 14 to 16. For girls, puberty is earlier; around 8 to 13 years. Their foot growth decreases between the ages of 12 to 14.
However, everyone has a unique growth rate, and feet can keep growing after the defined terms. So when do feet stop growing?
Let’s take a look at the dynamics of foot growth during the different ages of growth.
Feet Growth During Early Years
Foot growth is highest in the first three years of life. During this time, the foot grows by around ¾ inch every year. A child outgrows around 9 sizes of shoes during this time. Foot growth is largely dependent on genetics. So, a child with long-footed parents will have large feet and a faster growth rate than other kids.
To make sure your child is comfortable, you will have to measure his feet every month and get them a new pair whenever required. Your child will require a new pair in less than six months. Hence, it only makes sense to buy inexpensive shoes during this time.
As the child grows, its growth rate decreases, growing about ½ an inch per year between the ages of 3 and 6. Between the ages of 6 and 10, growth decreases further, less than ½ inch per year.
The growth of a girl’s foot is complete by the age of ten in 90% of cases. So, they may be wearing adult-sized shoes during their schooling. However, by the same age, only 80% of boys have attained their adult foot growth.
By the age of 14, most girls have completed 100% of their foot growth, while boys will have to wait for a couple more years. Most boys complete their foot growth by 16.
This is because kids experience a growth spurt during puberty. However, you will still have to keep an eye as some keep growing their feet for much longer.
Also, it is important to note that the schooling age is when most of the foot growth takes place, so it is important to have them fitted properly.
Feet Growth During Adulthood
As explained above, most growth and development is completed in the teenage years. However, as you age, your foot develops changes in size and shape.
So, if you feel that your feet have grown after the age of 40 or above, it hasn’t grown, but their size has changed due to one of the following reasons:
During pregnancy, women’s feet get longer by half a size or more. This happens due to:
Weight gain: Additional weight reduces the arch height and puts extra stress on the feet, causing the ligaments to loosen and spreading your feet. This increases the length as well as the width of the foot.
Growing uterus: A growing uterus puts extra pressure on the surrounding blood vessels, resulting in swollen feet.
Hormones: The placenta produces relaxin in preparation for birth. This hormone mostly acts on the cervix, softening it by promoting collagen degradation. It also acts on the ligaments of the body, loosening them in preparation for birth.
Fluid retention: Fluid retention in the body is common during pregnancy. The lower limbs retain the fluid, which results in swollen feet.
As you age, your ligaments start to loosen. After around 40-50 years, your ligaments have loosened enough to cause a shoe size change. So, expect to gain half a shoe size every ten years once you have crossed 40 years of age.
Also, the fat pad at the bottom of your feet grows thinner with age. This will not only alter your shoe size but can also be painful as the cushioning acts as shock absorption.
Ill-fitting shoes can cause damage to your feet. When you wear tight shoes during the growing phase, it affects the growth of the foot and can result in deformity. It also affects blood circulation, and too tight shoes can lead to ingrown toenails.
Can Your Feet Keep Growing Forever?
When do feet stop growing? Your feet grow because your bones get bigger. So, when your bones stop growing in your childhood or adolescence, your feet will stop growing too.
Wondering how bones grow?
Every bone in the body has one or more growth plates. Growth plates are areas in the bone that are made of cartilage and are where the body adds new bone length.
So, your entire bone does not grow—only the regions with the growth plates. While some bones have only one growth plate, larger bones like the shinbone have growth plates on both ends.
So, when you have matured, and growth has stopped, the hormones in the body will turn the soft growth plate into solid bone. Now, there is no more cartilage to increase bone height, so the bones stop growing.
This process of cartilage hardening is asymptomatic and not painful, so you will not even notice when your growth stops. However, during the growth of the growth plate, some children experience pain and are even prone to fractures.