Why Your Shoes May Suddenly Feel Too Tight, Causing Your Foot Pain

Posted by Dr. Jeffrey L. Adler

Aug 26, 2014 9:00:00 AM

shoes too small - foot painBack to school shopping has begun and that means new shoes for the school year. It makes sense that a child or teenager would need new shoes. Feet grow, shoes get worn out from running on the playground, and of course if it’s not the latest style Taylor Swift or Justin Bieber is wearing, your tween probably won’t wear it either. But what about adults? We don’t get to go back to school shoe shopping anymore because our feet haven’t grown. Or have they? If your shoes are suddenly feeling too small and are causing your foot pain, you may be wondering what is going on.


Your shoes may feel too tight simply because your feet are swollen. This happens for a variety of reasons. Some common instances include:

  • When you’re doing an extended amount of walking
  • Traveling
  • Intense exercise
  • Spending long hours standing on your feet
  • When it’s hot outside
  • Foot injury

It’s not uncommon for your shoes to suddenly feel too tight because your feet are swollen. After a few days though, if they continue to feel tight and your feet don’t appear to be swollen, there could be other contributing factors.

SEE ALSO: Tips from a New York Podiatrist: How to Treat Swollen Feet

Pregnancy/Weight Gain

If you’re pregnant or have experienced excessive weight gain, your shoes may start to feel too tight. This is because the increase in body weight lowers your arches, which adds more to the foot’s length and width. In fact, a woman’s foot can actually grow by half a size or more during pregnancy!

Shape change with age

As you get older your feet can change their shape. The bottoms of your feet start to lose the fatty pads, and ligaments and tendons lose their ability to stretch normally. This can cause foot pain because you lose the cushioning and extra support for your feet. As you age feet also tend to spread. They will flatten out and elongate. Shoes that don’t offer proper support – like flip-flops – can also contribute to this. It’s estimated that many people over the age of 40 can gain half a shoe size every 10 years.

It’s important that you have your feet measured so you are confident you’re getting shoes that fit your feet correctly. Failure to do so can lead to other issues causing chronic foot pain, such as bunions, hammertoes, plantar fasciitis, flat feet, and even pain in other areas of your body.

SEE ALSO: Shoe Shopping Tips from a New York Podiatrist: Finding the Right Fit

So while your feet don’t continue to grow – they actually stop growing in your late adolescent years – their shape can change, and that’s why you’re suddenly feeling like your shoes are too tight. You may need to take yourself back to school shopping after all!

If you’re experiencing chronic foot pain contact a New York podiatrist at Adler Footcare to learn about the latest treatment options. We believe feet shouldn’t hurt and neither should their treatment.

Contact Adler Footcare

Topics: foot pain