When does your feet stop growing?
Does your feet actually stop growing? Is it possible to tell that your feet has stopped growing? When does all these occur and why? You may have noticed you keep changing shoe sizes more frequently when you were younger until a particular point where it seemed the size became constant. Did your feet stop growing at that point? We will dig deep into all these questions as we journey through this article.
What do we know about our feet? We will agree that our feet forms the support for the weight of our whole body. It plays a role in locomotive activities because like every other part of the body, the feet consist of muscles, tendons, and ligaments that run along its surfaces and allows the complex movements needed for motion and balance.
The Achilles tendon connects the heel to the calf muscle and is essential for running, jumping, and standing on the toes. The calf muscle is connected to the heel by the Achilles tendon and is required for running, jumping and standing on tiptoe.
Here are some facts you may not have known about your foot;
1. The foot and ankle consists of 26 bones, 33 joints and about 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments
2. You have approximately 8,000 nerves in your feet that is far more than the number of nerves you will find in any other place on your body.
3. The sweat glands in your feet are about 250,000 sweat glands and they can produce up to half a pint of perspiration each day.
4. The average healthy person takes 8,000-10,000 steps every day and this can amount to about a quarter of a million miles in a lifetime.
5. Toenails grow slower than finger nails. Unlike our fingernails that may grow in a matter of weeks, a toenail could take up to 5-6 months to grow an entirely new toenail.
6. Women are prone experience foot problems four times more often than men. This is largely influenced by shoe choice. High heels and toes with pointy, narrow toe boxes cause multiple foot issues.
7. Some medical conditions can first be detected in the feet and limbs. For example, diabetes can manifest as a foot infection or as reduced circulation or numbness in the feet.
8. Both feet of one person are not of the same size.
9. Foot problems are very common and, according to research, affects nearly 60% of the population.
10. A podiatrist is a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of foot problems.
Growth is an essential part of the development process of the body. This takes place from birth to maturity with more growth spurts the early stage of one’s life. It is true that at adulthood lot of growth processes diminish and other factors which could affect normal body functions begin to set in. Growth goes far beyond increase in weight, height and size although this is the physical standard for measuring growth.
A lot of changes occur at the cellular level, changes in tissue composition and host of other developmental processes. Different body parts develop at different rates and at different times. For example the brain is 90% developed within the first three years after birth but it takes the bones till puberty to attain full development.
WHEN DOES THE FEET BEGIN TO GROW?
The feet develops first around the 12th week of gestation together with the arms, hands, finger and toes and continue to develop in order to become functional. After birth the feet grows spontaneously, according to research, it is even possible to record up to seven shoe sizes in the first three year after birth from there till puberty, there are remarkable changes in the size of the foot, this shows that growth is taking place.
HOW FAST DOES THE FEET GROW?
According to research, the feet of children between the ages of 1-3 can grow as long as 1.5mm in length each month. From about 3-6 years,it can grow at about 1mm in length each month. At age 6-10, it grows a little less than 1mm and at puberty the growth rate slightly increases. While these may be statistical facts, not all growth spurts occur at the same time and as such the sizes of the feet my grow at different rates in an individual.
Some people’s feet could remain the same size for over three years and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. While some of this may occur due normal circumstances, some physical factors play a role in how the feet grows. Take for instance, people who wear open toed shoes like sandals gives room for the toes to spread compared to those who wear tight fitted shoes.
WHEN DOES YOUR FEET STOP GROWING?
The question to when your feet stops growing is explained with the changes in our body systems as we grow. In every bone there are growth plates, these growth plates also referred to as the physics and is the cartilaginous portion at the ends of long bones where longitudinal growth of the bone takes place. This region of bone is characterized by high metabolic activity and is under the regulatory control of a wide variety of hormones and signaling compounds.
The growth plates are present only during the growth period and vanishes soon after puberty in long bones. A lot of growth processes ends at puberty but as we have established before, it may occur a different times. So a lot of people’s feet stop growing after puberty as the growth plates fuses, others can keep growing even in their early twenties. For males it has been observed that the feet stops growing around age 17 or 18 but for females it could be as early as 14 or 15.
Another significant time the females experience growth in feet size is during pregnancy. The feet are mostly swollen because of some hormonal action. The uterus expands as the pregnancy progresses, this puts a lot of pressure on the veins and ligaments in the lower body, so the body produces a hormone called relaxin.
The hormones relaxes all the veins from the pelvic region down to the foot and causes the feet to become enlarged. As adults, your feet will not grow but it is possible for it to change in size this can be due to weight gain, change in the laxity of the ligaments, they seem to also become flatter and wider as the force of gravity pushes o it daily and a whole lot of physical changes will take place.
SOME HARMFUL HABITS AND WHAT THEY CAN DO TO OUR FEET
1. Wearing high heeled shoes: As fashionable as it seems, continuous and prolonged wearing of high heeled shoes poses a danger to the feet. One can easily get bunions from wearing pointy shoes frequently. Bunions may also be hereditary but this is one of the cheapest way bunions are acquired especially in women.
2. Running Barefoot: Running barefoot exposes the feet to more injury than expected, also the foot becomes easily overworked because shoes help to support the muscles and keep the feet safe while running.
3. Refusing to wear socks: This is unhealthy for our feet as one can easily develop athletes foot. Athletes foot is caused by fungus which grows in dark and moist areas. Let’s say you’re not wearing a sock and your feet are just like that in your shoes, if you sweat or exposed to moisture there is a tendency for fungus to develop and cause harm to your feet.
4. Wearing ill-fitting shoes: If you are used to wearing ill-fitted shoes it is possible to develop a hammertoe after sometime. The hammertoes appear as a pointed and bent toe. It could occur at the second, third or fourth toe. Hammertoes can be very painful especially when you are wearing your shoes, in no time you may also be facing a problem of corns and calluses as the bony structure presses on you foot. Wearing Ill-fitted shoes can also cause blisters and claw toes.
5. Not practicing good foot hygiene: Washing, drying and moisturizing the foot is very healthy for the foot and reduces the chances of developing foot infections bad hygiene does the opposite. Good an proper pedicure will prevent a whole lot problems to the foot and keep them in good shape.
The foot is an essential part of the body and also the most ignored part of the body. Even though the feet may stop growing towards puberty and early 20s. As adults we may sometimes experience change in foot size due to some conditions but that doesn’t mean the foot is still growing, once the growth plates fuses, growth stops.
Any other increase in size is solely dependent on ok there factors as we have discussed. What destroys a healthy feet is improper care, it is important proper care is taken of the foot to ensure the feet are in good shape at all times.
1. “At What Age Do Children’s Feet Stop Growing? – Silly Feet” https://sillyfeet.com/b6. /news/at-what-age-do-childrens-feet-stop-growing.
2. “The growth plate: a physiologic overview” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7484711/