Age-related differences in women's foot shape

Jone Ansuategui Echeita, Juha M. Hijmans*, Sharon Smits, Lucas H. V. Van der Woude, Klaas Postema

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Purpose: Describe age-related differences in women's foot shape using a wide range of measurements and ages.

Study design: Cross-sectional, observational study.

Main outcome measurements: Six foot-shape measurements of each foot: foot lengths, ball widths, ball circumferences, low instep circumferences, high instep circumferences, and heel instep circumference.

Results: 168 women from 20 to over 80 years of age, divided into seven age categories, were included. Older women had significantly greater foot-shape measurements, even after adjusting for Body Mass Index. Ball widths increased 3.1-4.0mm per decade, ball circumferences 5.6-7.4 mm per decade, high instep circumferences 0.4-4.8 mm per decade, and heel instep circumferences 1.8-1.9 mm per decade. Ball widths, ball circumferences, and left high instep circumference plateaued in the 70-75 years-of-age category, and decreased in the oldest age category. For low instep circumference, age did not prevail significantly over Body Mass Index. Foot length was not associated with age.

Conclusion: This study described women's progressive foot-shape changes with age. The findings provide a better understanding of foot-shape changes, mainly found in the forefoot. It demonstrates that for a good fit, shoe design for older adults and for younger adults should differ. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-69
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Dec-2016


  • Foot
  • Foot pain
  • Ageing
  • Female
  • Ill-fitting
  • PAIN

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