The foot has 26 bones, and these bones, along with heredity, determine the width and length of your foot. The bones are connected by tiny muscles and ligaments that hold the bones together and contribute to the strength and flexibility of your foot. Because bones are rigid, it is not possible to make your feet smaller in width without permanently changing the structure of your bones, which can damage the foot. However, changes that affect the ligaments, muscles and soft tissues around the foot might affect foot width.
Lose weight. Your feet naturally spread lengthwise and widthwise to accommodate your body weight. By losing weight, your feet won’t spread as much, making them more narrow when you stand. Keep in mind that any reduction in width depends on your natural bone structure.
Use arch supports. As you stand, your arch disperses your weight across your foot. Weaker arches flatten and cause the foot to spread both lengthwise and widthwise. Arch supports maintain your arch and prevent your feet from spreading as much.
Elevate your feet if foot width is a result of tissue swelling. Your feet naturally swell during the day, and swollen tissues around the bones can broaden the foot. Lie or sit with your feet elevated above your heart to encourage fluid reduction. The extent of the swelling and your natural bone structure determine how much reduction will occur.
Consult a podiatrist for arch-strengthening exercises or other options for safely preventing the bones in your feet from spreading.
- Principles of Anatomy and Physiology; Gerard Tortora, et al.; 2010
- Podcare: Foot Anatomy