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25 Fun Foot Facts
1. A human foot & ankle is a strong, mechanical structure that contain 26 bones, 33 joints,
and more than 100 muscles, tendons & ligaments.
2. The 52 bones in your feet make up one quarter of all the bones in your body. When they
are out of alignment, so is the rest of your body.
3. There are approximately 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet, and they excrete as much
as half a pint of moisture each day.
4. The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and sensory nerve endings per square
centimeter than any other part of the body.
5. The American Podiatry Medical Association says buying shoes is best done during the
afternoon. Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, and it’s best to buy shoes that fit
6. Women are 4 times more likely to have foot problems than men are, mostly due to
7. A 2½-inch high heel can increase the load on the forefoot by 75%.
8. Many people have one foot larger than the other, so it’s best to fit the larger one while
9. The American Podiatric Medical Association states the average person takes 8,000 to
10,000 steps a day, which add up to 115,000 miles in a lifetime – more than 4 times the
circumference of the globe.
10. During an average day of walking, the total forces on your feet can total hundreds of tons,
equivalent to an average of a fully loaded cement truck.
11. Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It contributes to your general health by
improving circulation and weight control.
12. Standing in one spot is far more tiring than walking because the demands are being made
on the same few muscles for a longer length of time.
13. Foot ailments can become your first sign of more serious medical problems. Your feet
mirror your general health, so conditions like arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory
disorders can show their initial symptoms in your feet.
14. Arthritis is the number one cause of disability in America, including in your feet.
15. Podiatric physicians are 4 times less likely to use costly services than other physicians
16. 75% of Americans will experience foot problems at one time or another in their lives.
17. About 19% of the US population has an average of 1.4-foot problems each year.
18. About 5% of the US population has fungal foot infections each year.
19. About 5% of the US population has ingrown toenail problems each year.
20. About 5% of the US population has corns or calluses each year. They are less likely to
receive treatment and more likely to continue having problems without treatment.
21. About 6% of US population has foot injuries, bunions, flat feet or fallen arches each year.
22. About 60% of all foot & ankle injuries aged 17 or older are ankle strains or sprains.
23. About 60-70% of diabetics will develop some form of diabetic nerve damage, which in
severe forms can lead to diabetic lower limb amputation. Approximately 56,000 people a
year lose their foot or leg due to diabetes.
24. Heel pain and ingrown toenails are the most common problems researched.
25. Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome is a very common reason for feeling pain and burning in their
Most people have 26 bones in each foot, but some people have 28. These extras, called
supernumerary sesamoids, are found on the bottom of the foot just behind the big toe.
Fourteen of the 26 bones are found in the toes. Each toe has three bones, except the big
toe, which has two.
The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and sensitive nerve-endings per square
centimetre than any other part of your body.
Flat feet are not always problematic – if flat feet are well-aligned, they enable a person to
stand for longer periods of time, as the weight is distributed over a larger area.
Lower backache, headaches, indigestion and a misaligned spine can often be traced to
problems with your feet.
The gait pattern of your right foot does not usually match that of your left.
When you are walking normally, the whole foot is never flat on the ground.
If your feet are well-aligned, your toes will point straight ahead when you are walking.
The first point of contact is your heel, then the outside border of your foot, then the ball
of your foot, and finally the big toe.
Standing in one spot is far more tiring than walking. The reason for this is that demands
are being made on the same few muscles for a length of time.
Corns and calluses are never normal, but they are the most common foot problems. They
indicate that you could benefit from foot alignment or from better choice of shoes. The
next most common foot problems are warts, blisters, athlete's foot and fissures.
The skin on your feet is thicker than it is anywhere else on your body.
When you are stressed, you are more susceptible to the virus that causes warts on the
When buying shoes, it is always a good idea to buy them late in the day, when your feet
are tired and may be slightly swollen. In this way you are unlikely to buy shoes that are
too small.
The foot is made up of 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and numerous tendons.
Complex biomechanics keep all these parts in the right position and moving together. Given
these intricacies, it is not surprising that most people will experience some problem with their
feet at some time in their lives.
Within each foot, the essential structure can be summed up as follows:
Seven short tarsal bones make up the heel and back of the instep.
Five metatarsal bones spread from the back of the foot toward front and make up the
structure for the ball of the foot. Each metatarsal is associated with one of the toes.
Fourteen phalanges, small bones, form the toe structure.
Tarsal and metatarsal bones provide the structure for the arch of the foot.
Bands of ligaments connect and hold all the bones in place.
A thick layer of fatty tissue under the sole helps absorb the pressure and shock that comes
from walking and everyday movements.
Foot and ankle problems usually fall into the following categories:
Acquired from improper footwear, physical stress, or small mechanical changes within
the foot.
Arthritic foot problems, which typically involve one or more joints.
Congenital foot problems, which occur at birth and are generally inherited.
Infectious foot problems, which are caused by bacterial, viral, or fungal problems.
Neoplastic disorders, also known as tumors, which are the result of abnormal growth of
tissue anywhere on the foot and may be benign or malignant.
Traumatic foot problems, which are associated with foot and ankle injuries, such as
Leading foot problems are:
Bunions—misaligned big toe joints that swell and become tender, causing the first joint
of the big toe to slant outward and the second joint to angle toward the other toes.
Bunions tend to be hereditary, but can be aggravated by shoes that are too narrow in the
forefoot and toe. Surgery is frequently performed to correct the problem.
Hammertoes—usually stemming from muscle imbalance, this condition occurs when the
toe is bent into a claw-like position. Hammertoe can affect any toe, but most frequently
occurs to the second toe, when a bunion slants the big toe toward and under it. Selecting
shoes and socks that do not cramp the toes may help alleviate any aggravation of pain or
Heel Spurs—growths of bone on the underside, forepart of the heel bone. Heel spurs
occur when the plantar tendon pulls at its attachment to the heel bone. This area of the
heel later calcifies to form a spur. Proper warm-up and the use of appropriate athletic
shoes can reduce the strain to the ligament and prevent the formation of heel spurs.
Ingrown Toenails—toenails with corners or sides that dig painfully into the skin. Ingrown
toenails are usually caused by improper nail trimming, but can also result from shoe
pressure, injury, fungus infection, heredity, and poor foot structure. Women are more
likely to have ingrown toenails than men. The problem can be prevented by trimming
toenails straight across, selecting proper shoe styles and sizes, and responding to foot
pain in a timely manner.
Neuromas—enlarged benign growths of nerves, most commonly between the third and
fourth toes. Neuromas are caused by tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves.
Pressure from ill-fitting shoes or abnormal bone structure can also lead to this condition.
Depending on the severity, treatments may include orthotics (shoe inserts), cortisone
injections, and, in extreme cases, surgical removal of the growth.
Plantar Fasciitis—an inflammation on the bottom of the foot that leads to heel and/or arch
pain. A variety of foot injuries or improper foot mechanics can lead to plantar fasciitis.
Treatments range from icing and foot exercises to the prescription of custom orthotics to
correct the foot position and help alleviate pain.
Sesamoiditis—an inflammation or rupture of the two small bones (known as sesamoids)
under the first metatarsal bone. Proper shoe selection and orthotics can help.
Shin Splints—pain on either side of the leg bone caused by muscle or tendon
inflammation. Shin splints are related to excessive foot pronation, but also may be related
to a muscle imbalance between opposing muscle groups in the leg. Proper stretching
before and after exercise and corrective orthotics for pronation can help prevent shin
Stress Fractures—incomplete cracks in bone caused by overuse. With complete rest,
stress fractures in toes or any bones of the foot heal quickly. Extra padding in shoes can
help prevent the condition. Left untreated, stress fractures may become complete bone
fractures, which require casting and immobilization.
Basic foot care guidelines
1. Don't ignore foot pain. It is not normal. If you experience any type of persistent pain in
the foot or ankle, please contact our office.
2. Inspect your feet regularly. Pay attention to changes in color and temperature. Look for
thick or discolored nails (a sign of developing fungus), and check for cracks or cuts in the
skin. Peeling or scaling on the soles of feet may indicate Athlete's Foot. Any growth on
the foot is not considered normal.
3. Wash your feet regularly, especially between the toes, and be sure to dry them
4. Trim toenails straight across, but not too short. Be careful not to cut nails in corners or on
the sides; this can lead to ingrown toenails. Persons with diabetes, poor circulation, or
heart problems should not treat their own feet, because they are more prone to infection.
5. Make sure that your shoes fit properly. Purchase new shoes later in the day when feet
tend to be at their largest, and replace worn out shoes as soon as possible.
6. Select and wear the right shoe for each sport or activity that you are engaged in (e.g.,
running shoes for running).
7. Alternate shoes—don't wear the same pair of shoes every day.
8. Avoid walking barefooted. Your feet will be more prone to injury and infection. At the
beach or when wearing sandals always use sunblock on your feet.
9. Be cautious when using home remedies for foot ailments. Self-treatment may turn a
minor problem into a major one.
10. If you are a diabetic, please contact our office and schedule a check-up at least once a
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