Updated on July 7th, 2023 at 06:38 pm

When you lose weight, you usually think of your hips, waist, and thighs shrinking. The size of your feet can also decrease when you lose a large amount of weight. 

Depending on the amount of weight that you shed, you may need to invest in new shoes and smaller clothing. Even if your feet do not get smaller, weight loss can help relieve foot pain caused by being overweight or obese.

Foot Problems due to Excessive Weight

image of feet shrink from weight loss - Extra Large LivingWhen you have a lot of extra weight, your feet hurt; they absorb about 120 percent of your weight, explains The New York Times. Over time, the body’s excess weight stretches connective tissue. 

Your foot muscles tense to support you, and natural fat pads that cushion your soles wear down. You may experience plantar fasciitis, a painful inflammation of the tissue at the bottom of the foot, and heel pain.

Extra-large body size can aggravate edema, or abnormal swelling, of the feet, ankles, and legs. This can make the feet appear larger than their actual bone structure.

If you are diabetic and overweight, your feet have a special risk of complications. Because they are far from the heart, circulation and sensation can decrease so that wounds do not heal properly, sometimes leading to amputation.

How Weight Loss Affects Your Feet

Losing weight can alleviate some or all of your foot problems. If you only lose 5 to 10 percent of your weight, you can reduce your blood sugar problems, which can help you better control diabetic complications, along with blood pressure and cholesterol.

image of a person on weighing scale - Extra Large LivingYour feet will carry less weight, and some of the pain is likely to decrease. Weight loss reduces the gravitational pressure on the lower body and feet, reduces swelling, and as an effect, you fit into smaller shoes. The actual bone structure and length of your feet do not change, but the width can.

However, not just any weight loss will have a major impact on your foot pain. Usually, people who lose a large percentage of their body size experience the greatest relief. If you only have 10 or 20 pounds to lose, you may not notice much difference in the size or feel of your feet.

Your Foot Size During Pregnancy

Your foot size may expand by a half a size or more during pregnancy, as well as increase in width substantially. 

Your body produces a hormone called relaxin to loosen the pelvic connective tissue to make room for childbirth, and this hormone can also affect the ligaments of the foot, causing them to expand slightly. 

As you grow in pregnancy, your arches can lower, resulting in a longer, wider foot. Pregnancy also often results in swelling in the feet, which makes your foot feel bigger. Once you have given birth, much of the swelling is likely to decrease. 

But even after you lose your pregnancy, any foot growth due to changes in your arches and ligament size will remain.

How to Help Your Feet When You Lose Weight

Moving more helps you burn calories to lose weight and helps the health of your feet. When you have foot problems due to your size, this movement can be painful. 

Talk to your doctor about relieving discomfort and keeping your feet healthy when exercising to slim down. Compression stockings and a low-sodium diet can give you relief from swelling, for example.

Also, look for a calorie-burning activity that puts less pressure on your feet. Water exercise, cycling, and an exercise machine can be options for low impact and less stress on the feet. 

Conclusion paragraph: If you’ve lost weight and noticed your shoes don’t fit anymore, it may not be just because of the pounds. Your feet can get smaller when you lose weight too! The fat pads in our feet are what give them their shape so they need to shrink along with the rest of us during a diet or exercise routine.

So if you see that your shoe size has shrunken by more than half a size since losing some weight, congratulations on both shedding those extra pounds and shrinking down into an even better fitting pair of sneakers!

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Check back to Extra Large Living often for all things related to living well while wearing larger sized clothing items.