Shoes are a part of daily life; from sneakers on the court to stilettos at a dinner party, we wear them for hours every day. If yours are constantly too tight, this can have a major impact on your overall happiness and well being. Those with larger, flatter, wider feet often have trouble finding well-fitting shoes. Forced to wear an ill-sized pair, those with wider feet might have their toes pinched, their ankles squeezed, and their heels crushed. Austin podiatrist, Dr. Jeffery LaMour, is here to help each and every patient find the right shoes for his or her feet. He can also help treat the conditions that might worsen this issue. If you’re suffering from these symptoms, read on to learn what you can do about it and how we can assist you.
Do You Have Wide Feet?
It turns out that wide feet aren’t at all uncommon. In her recent Wall Street Journal article “Feet Are Getting Bigger and Many People Wear Shoes That Don’t Fit,” Elizabeth Holmes notes: “in a U.K. survey, more than a third of men and nearly half of women admitted buying shoes that didn’t fit right.” In many cases, people purchase shoes that are simply too tight and small to accommodate their feet. Charlotte Kemp’s 2014 Daily Mail piece on shoe sizing suggests that the general population’s feet are getting slightly wider every decade, due to a variety of issues. Kemp writes: “Jane Winkworth [shoe company founder] has confessed that its ballet pumps are broader than they were when she started the business more than 20 years ago.”
Additionally, many people who have wider feet don’t realize that this is the case. In her humorous piece for The Debrief, Madeleine Knight poses the question: “you might not even think you have wide feet—but when was the last time you actually measured them?” She follows this up with a confession: “I forgot about [having wide feet] for 14 years and have been squishing my hugely wide feet into little skinny shoes ever since my mother stopped taking me [shoe shopping].” Even if you don’t think of yourself as someone with wide feet or have forgotten that your childhood shoe boxes had a “W” on the side, you might benefit from looser fitting shoes rather than cramming your toes into the trendiest, slimmest styles.
Finding That “Cinderella” Shoe
Do you remember those metal measurement devices with the foot outlines you used to figure out your ever-changing foot size as a kid? It may be time to bring them back out. Knight advises: “always measure your foot in the evening,” when they’re more likely to be at their widest. If you don’t have a foot-measuring device handy, you can use Knight’s guide or About.com’s instructions. These should allow you to determine a more exact shoe sizes (half sizes can be crucial!) and determine if you need a Narrow, Regular, or Wide fit. Every shoe company sizes slightly differently, so you’ll still want to try on several different pairs of each shoe at the store until you find that perfect fit. If you’re struggling to find shoes that really support your foot and feel comfortable, prescription orthotics may be the right choice for you. Dr. LaMour frequently custom-fits these inserts for our patients.
What’s Causing Widening?
Why do some people have wider feet than others? A few reasons include:
- Nature: Of course, some people are simply born with wider feet, and there’s nothing wrong with that! You’ll just need to make sure you choose good footwear for your feet.
- Ill-fitting shoes: That’s right—the tight shoes you curse could actually be making your feet even wider. Wearing constricting shoes can cause your big toe joint and bone to move out of place, creating a bunion. This widens the front part of your foot, potentially making your tight shoes more uncomfortable. This is one more reason it is important to find the appropriate size shoe for you.
- Fallen foot arches: While common and even normal in children, flat-footedness can lead your feet to feel wider and make many shoes uncomfortable. Foot Smart explains that this condition “usually develops as an adult because of excessive foot stress” (such as being on your feet all day or gaining weight) or, in some cases, “failing to treat a foot injury (such as an ankle sprain) without proper healing time.”
- Swelling: Wide feet are often the result of edema, or swelling, according to Foot Smart. Edema has a long list of causes, from diet to “neuromuscular disorders,” injury, and hormonal conditions. If your ankles and lower legs are irregularly large, this is likely the cause.
If your feet simply seem too wide for shoes, Dr. LaMour and our team can help locate the source of your condition. Then, we can create a treatment plan to help you remedy this with our wide array of podiatric services.
Contact Your Austin Podiatrist Today
Do your feet feel too wide? Would you like assistance selecting the proper shoe for your feet? Contact us today to learn more about our practice and schedule an appointment with Dr. LaMour.