Why Are My Feet Different Sizes? It’s More Common Than You Think

Research shows that around 60% of adults have one foot that’s wider and/or longer than the other. Interestingly, while most of the US is right-handed, the left foot is more likely to be the larger foot. 

One proposed explanation for this is because your non-dominant foot gets more exercise from normal walking. If you’re right-side dominant, your right leg is stronger, and it’s easier to balance on your right foot when stepping forward with your left. However, they can then be a bit shakier when stepping forward with their right foot, and as a result the left foot becomes stronger and slightly bigger. If you’re left-handed (left-side dominant), your right foot may be the larger foot. 

Why Are My Feet Different Sizes?

Why are my feet two different sizes?

While foot dominance offers one possible explanation, there are actually many reasons you may have differently-sized feet. Some of these size differences can be so great that you need to wear two different-sized shoes and some may be as small as a fraction of an inch. 

The podiatrists at University Foot & Ankle Institute are experts in all aspects of foot care, including how to accommodate differently-sized feet. Some of the potential causes of differing foot sizes include: 

Foot injury

A foot injury can cause muscle or bone issues that lead to one of your feet getting bigger. The growth of your foot  

Medical conditions

Noticeable differences in foot size may be caused by medical conditions like spina bifida, clubfoot, or scoliosis.  

Can I buy shoes for different-sized feet?

Wearing a pair of shoes that doesn’t accommodate the size difference between your feet leads to discomfort, pain, and other foot-related issues. 

Buying shoes for different widths and foot lengths can be challenging. However, adjustments can be made when fitting different shoe sizes for each foot. The standard size difference between shoe lengths is one-third of an inch and one-eighth of an inch between widths. If one foot is a half-size to a full-size longer, purchase the shoe size to fit the larger foot. 

To address the size difference, inserts or insoles can provide extra comfort for the smaller foot, or our podiatrists at the University Foot & Ankle Institute can fit you for custom orthotics, helping prevent further problems. 

Split-size shoes are pairs of shoes in two different sizes, comfortably fitting both of your feet without needing adjustment. Most major retailers, shoe stores, and shoe exchanges offer split-size shoes. Also, you can purchase custom-made shoes from several brands, but this is a costlier option. 

The difference in the size of your feet doesn’t have to affect your foot health. 

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Why are my feet getting bigger?

Generally, feet stop growing when you’re around 20. However, many people say their feet are getting bigger later in life. The fact is that their feet are getting bigger (stretching, not growing) due to age-related changes. 

Other reasons your feet may be getting bigger include: 

Overuse

Wear and tear cause the ligaments and tendons of our feet to lose elasticity, resulting in collapsed arches. Repeated strain from walking or exercise can make them wider and longer. 

Weight gain

Weight gain can change your gait, placing even more stress and pressure on your feet and causing them to widen and lengthen. Weight gain can cause problems like hammer toes, bunions, and plantar fasciitis. 

Menopause

Estrogen affects your body’s collagen production, and collagen is the most important structural protein found in connective tissue. During menopause, your estrogen levels decline, which leads to a decline in collagen and causes the ligaments and tendons to become less elastic, which could lead to bigger feet. 

Pregnancy

Pregnancy may cause your arches to collapse and your feet to lengthen, as pregnancy hormones relax your ligaments. The changes in foot size may not be uniform and could be permanent. 

Choose University Foot & Ankle Institute for your foot and ankle care

If you have different-sized feet and are experiencing pain and discomfort while wearing shoes, our podiatry professionals at the University Foot & Ankle Institute can help. Our podiatrist can evaluate your feet and recommend appropriate treatment. 

If you or anyone in your family are experiencing foot problems, we’re here to help. Our nationally recognized foot and ankle specialists offer the most advanced podiatric care and the highest success rates in the nation. We are leaders in researching, diagnosing, and treating all foot and ankle conditions. 

For more information or to schedule a consultation with a podiatrist, please call (877) 736-6001 or click here to request a consultation online to discuss your situation. 

We are convenient for all Southern California patients with offices in or near Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Northridge, Downtown Los Angeles, Westlake Village, Granada Hills, and Valencia.  

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