Research Article| Volume 79, ISSUE 4, P421-427, December 2014

Gender and age related differences in foot morphology


      • Anatomical foot parameters were assessed in males and females divided in age groups.
      • In young-adults, the sex-related morphological differences are related to a lower foot length.
      • In the elders, no differences were found after normalization for foot length.
      • Feet anatomy presents specific characteristics in different ages of life.
      • The ideal footwear should take into account the age characteristics.



      This study has assessed age-related changes of foot morphology for developing appropriate footwear with particular reference to the elderly.


      Anatomical parameters such as foot length, circumference and height and ankle length, circumference and height were assessed in a sample of males (n = 577) and females (n = 528) divided into three age groups. The groups included young-adult, aged between 20 and 25 years; adult, aged between 35 and 55 years; and old, aged between 65 and 70 years individuals.


      In terms of gender differences, in young-adult individuals the sex-related morphological differences observed, are just related to a significantly lower length of foot in females. In adult subjects morphological parameters investigated were significantly lower in females even after normalization for foot length. In old individuals, no differences of the parameters were found after normalization for foot length. Comparative analysis of morphometric data between young-adult and adult individuals revealed that the instep length was smaller in adults. The opposite was observed for the great toe and medial foot arch height. Length of ankle was higher in adult than in young-adult individuals, whereas ankle circumference and height were smaller. In old vs adult individuals foot circumference showed the most relevant age-related differences.


      Feet anatomy presents specific characteristics in different ages of life. The ideal footwear should take into account these characteristics. This is true primarily for the elderly for minimizing the risk of falls or of other problems related to inappropriate footwear.


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