The relationship between wearing incorrectly sized shoes and foot dimensions, foot pain, and diabetes

J Sport Rehabil. 2010 May;19(2):214-25. doi: 10.1123/jsr.19.2.214.


Context: Wearing inappropriate shoes can cause biomechanical imbalance, foot problems, and pain and induce falls.

Objective: To verify the prevalence of wearing incorrectly sized shoes and the relationship between incorrectly sized shoes and foot dimensions, pain, and diabetes among older adults.

Design: A cross-sectional study.

Participants: 399 older adults (227 women and 172 men) age 60 to 90 y.

Main outcome measures: The participants were asked about the presence of diabetes, pain in the lower limbs and back, and pain when wearing shoes. Foot evaluations comprised the variables of width, perimeter, height, length, first metatarsophalangeal angle, the Arch Index, and the Foot Posture Index. The data analysis was performed using a 2-sample t test and chi-square test.

Results: The percentage of the participants wearing shoe sizes bigger than their foot length was 48.5% for the women and 69.2% for the men. Only 1 man was wearing a shoe size smaller than his foot length. The older adults wearing the incorrect shoe size presented larger values for foot width, perimeter, and height than those wearing the correct size, but there were no significant differences between the groups with respect to the Arch Index and the Foot Posture Index. Incorrectly sized shoes were associated with ankle pain in women but not with diabetes. Men were more likely to wear incorrectly fitting shoes. The use of correctly sized shoes was associated with back pain in women.

Conclusions: The use of incorrectly sized shoes was highly prevalent in the population studied and was associated with larger values for foot width, perimeter, and height and with ankle pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging
  • Arthrometry, Articular
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Foot / anatomy & histology*
  • Foot / physiology
  • Gait
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Posture
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Factors
  • Shoes* / adverse effects
  • Shoes* / standards
  • Surveys and Questionnaires