It is not unusual to find new shoes, but jeans might be a different size if you lose weight. Your hips, arms and feet can change as you lose weight. Learn how weight loss can affect your feet and what other foot-related changes can occur when you lose weight.
Are your feet smaller when you lose weight or gain muscle?
Yes, in most cases. Although it might not be obvious for everyone, weight loss can lead to smaller feet. Lauren Wurster, DPM is a spokesperson for American Podiatric Medical Association. She is also a specialist in foot and ankle surgery at Foot & Ankle Clinics of Arizona. It makes sense, considering that weight loss can reduce fat distribution throughout the body, which could potentially impact everything from breast size and skin appearance.
Dr. Wurster states that “the overall bony structure of feet doesn’t change but that the amount of soft tissues decreases.” Dr. Wurster says that as people lose weight, the pressure on their feet also decreases, which can help reduce swelling and spreading. What is the result? The result? Your shoes might feel looser than before.
Can weight loss change your shoe size?
Sometimes, weight loss can cause feet to shrink enough to alter a person’s shoe sizes. This is something you should know when budgeting for your style. One 12-month study published in 2017 showed that women who had lost between 50 and 100 pounds through sleeve-gastrectomy saw their shoe sizes drop by an average of one.
Don’t be surprised to see your feet shrink from an EE width down to a D width. Your feet’s side to side measurements could also decrease as a result of weight loss. According to Rebecca Pruthi, DPM (foot surgeon at Foot Care of Manhattan), in New York City, this is because your paws are under less pressure. Dr. Pruthi says that losing weight helps reduce some of the pressure so that the foot doesn’t fan out as often.
Other ways that weight loss could affect feet
Losing weight, in addition to decreasing the size of your feet, can also affect how your feet work when you are standing or moving. These are two common changes you might notice:
- Improved biomechanics. Foot-related stress can lead to injury and pain by flattening the arches. This can also cause over-pronation (a rolling in of the ankles while walking or running). Weight loss may reduce the risk of injury and overpronation.
- Footstrikes with reduced force: With each step, your feet and ankles absorb approximately 120% of the force required to propel you forward, Dr. Wurster states. If you run, make that 275% of the weight. Research suggests that weight can be directly linked to chronic heel pain. A study that was published in the Gait & Posture showed that a 10% drop in body weight resulted in a significant decrease in foot pressure, which could help to reduce foot pain.
Other factors that could affect foot size
Your feet may change due to weight changes, but that’s not all. These are just three reasons your feet may shrink or grow.
- Pregnancy The body produces more hormones relaxin (and progesterone) when a woman is pregnant. These hormones loosen ligaments and allow the pelvis to expand for childbirth. She explains that this also relaxes the foot ligaments. This causes arches to drop and leads to a larger foot.
- Aging. As the ligaments in the feet become less flexible over time, foot can spread. Dr. Pruthi says. The fat pads at the heels and balls of the feet may thinn with age, decreasing the overall width and depth of the feet.
- Some medical conditions: Conditions such as arthritis can alter the structure and size of your feet’s bones, which could lead to changes in their shape or size. Dr. Wurster states that arthritis can cause irregular bony growths, also known as osteophytes, and changes in foot position such as arch collapse. To determine if you are experiencing pain, swelling, changes in skin, or any other foot-related discomfort, consult a foot specialist.
The bottom line: Weight loss may lead to smaller feet
It’s possible that your feet are smaller because you have recently lost weight. Your feet may noticeably shrink or shorten due to a decrease in overall body fat and weight-related foot pressure. It is important to consult a podiatrist if your feet experience any new problems, such as sudden swelling or pain. A doctor can diagnose other health issues and provide the sole thing that your feet require: new kicks.