Having one foot bigger than the other can be a positive thing. It may seem like an inconvenience to have two different-sized feet, but it's quite common, there are lots of ways to manage it, and it does come with some surprising advantages!
Is It Normal to Have One Foot Bigger Than the Other?
It is quite normal and common to have one foot bigger than the other. According to industry research, roughly 60 percent of adults have one foot that is bigger than the other.
Usually, the left foot is larger than the right. This phenomenon can often be attributed to the way we walk. For most people, the right side of the body is dominant, so it is easier for them to maintain balance when they’re stepping forward with their left foot. Therefore, the left foot is exercised more and grows stronger, achieving a slightly enlarged size.
One foot is typically bigger than the other in about 60% of adults
Causes of Different-Sized Feet
The key reasons for having one foot bigger than the other are:
1. The left foot is typically larger than the right due to most people being right-side dominant.
2. Some medical conditions like spina bifida, clubfoot, and scoliosis can cause one foot to be larger than the other.
3. Playing sports or having an injury can lead to muscle or bone abnormalities that can result in one foot being larger than the other.
4. Age can also contribute to size differences as the arches of one foot may flatten out more quickly than the other.
5. If a person is left-handed, their right foot may be much larger than their left.
Some other factors can also cause one foot to become larger than the other. As a result of continuous use of one foot over the other, it may become longer over time. Women who have been pregnant may find that their feet increase in size, sometimes not uniformly. Physical trauma such as breaks, sprains, or bone spurs can also cause one foot to change in shape or size.
What to Do if One Foot Is Larger Than the Other
In most cases, the difference between two different-sized feet is very small—less than 1 cm. Therefore, the larger foot won’t usually require footwear in a larger shoe size than the other. Even when the size difference is noticeable, it is usually linked to health problems. It is imperative to wear shoes that fit well to avoid injuries and deformities.
To ensure that your shoes fit properly, it is wise to buy shoes in two different sizes if one foot is 1 ½ size larger than the other, or more. This will help prevent any discomfort or injury from occurring. Additionally, orthotics may be recommended to provide extra support for the feet.
If you are concerned about having one foot bigger than the other, do the following:
1. Measure both feet and compare the size difference.
2. If the difference between two feet is more than 1 cm, buy shoes in two different sizes.
3. Look for retailers with a ‘split-size’ policy where you can buy one shoe in one size and the other in a different size.
4. If there’s only a small size difference, get the correct size for your larger foot and put an insole in your smaller foot’s shoe.
5. Visit a podiatrist to find out if the size difference is due to a health issue and get custom-made orthotics to support your feet.
When Having Different-Sized Feet Can Be a Good Thing
Having different-sized feet can seem like an inconvenience at first, but it doesn't have to be. Having one foot bigger than the other can sometimes be to your advantage.
Studies have shown that people with larger feet have better support and balance on uneven terrain, and may even excel more at sprinting! That's why it's so vital to make sure you find shoes that fit both of your feet correctly. Let's take a look in further detail at some advantages of having one foot bigger than the other:
Support and Balance
Walking on uneven ground requires us to constantly shift our centers of gravity, improving our range of motion and building strength in multiple muscle groups.
Furthermore, it helps to strengthen the feet and ankles by recruiting different muscles that may not be used on flat, man-made surfaces. Therefore, having one foot bigger than the other can help to maintain balance and support the knees when walking on uneven terrain.
When we take a step, it is natural to put more weight on the larger foot. This helps to maintain balance while walking on uneven surfaces, as the larger foot can bear more of the weight and provide stability. In addition, having one foot that is larger than the other may help to support our knees by distributing the pressure equally between both feet.
Gain an Advantage in Sports
Having one foot bigger than the other may potentially give you an advantage in certain sports. This is because a larger foot can provide more leverage and longer strides.
According to foot experts who study sports performance, if your big--or first--toe extends further than your second toe, this could be a natural advantage in some sports. A longer big toe can more readily lean your full body weight onto it, which is essential for skiing, sprinting, and other sports. Your big toe can exert about twice as much force as your second toe.
Knowing the unique structure of your feet and how it can affect sports performance can help athletes to figure out how to optimize their performance.
Taking the Next Step
Ultimately, having one foot bigger than the other need not be a cause for concern and can even be beneficial in certain activities. However, if you do have one foot bigger than the other, it is wise to take steps to make sure your feet are properly supported. This includes buying shoes in non-matching sizes, using custom-made shoe inserts, and consulting a podiatrist if needed. By following these simple guidelines, you can use your slightly larger foot to your advantage and stay safe and healthy!
Sources and Further Reading
- The Influence of Foot Sizes on Human Balance
This study investigated the relationship between foot size and human balance performance.
- Sport! Science: Remarkable Feets
Without taking off your shoes, try to remember: Is your big toe longer or shorter than your second toe? The answer, according to foot experts who study sports performance, can give a telling clue to athletic ability.
- Different Sized Feet - Is It Normal for One Foot to Be Bigger?
Did you know that 60% of adults have one foot longer and/or wider than the other? Everything you need to know about different sized feet.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2023 Louise Fiolek