April is Foot Health Awareness month, which is great because feet generally get taken for granted. That is, until something goes wrong. Nothing incapacitates you as much as sore or injured feet.
Our feet are remarkable bio-mechanical structures that are responsible for transporting our entire body weight 8,000-10,000 steps per day. And yet, most people know very little about what actually goes on inside the foot.
And now for the interesting facts!
- Most people have 26 bones in each foot. Some people have more if they have accessory or “extra” bones.
- Fourteen of the 26 bones are found in the toes. Each toe has three bones, except the big toe, which has two. However, it is not uncommon for the little toe to have only two bones as well.
- There are 33 joints in the foot which make them great mobile adaptors. As we walk on only two feet (rather than four), with each step our feet adapt to the ground under them.
- The soles of our feet contain more sweat glands and nerve endings per square inch than any other body part. (Smelly shoes, anyone?)
- Babies are born with more cartilage than bone in their feet. The arch is filled with fat and the actual structure of the arch does not develop until the child is about 2-3 years old.
- The gait pattern of your right foot does not usually match that of your left foot. This is normal; however, significant mal-alignment can lead to knee, hip, and back pain.
- The skin on the soles of your feet is thicker than it is anywhere else on your body. This protection prevents many puncture wounds.
- According the National Shoe Retailers Association report of 2010, the average shoe size for both men and women has increased over the 30 years. The most common sizes 30 years ago were size 7 ½ for women and 9 ½ for men. Today, the most commonly purchased shoe size for women is 8 ½ and men 10 ½.
- When you are walking normally, the whole foot is never flat on the ground. A normal gait starts with heel strike with weight to the outside of the foot. As we propulse forward the weight shifts to midline and then to the inside, ending with a push-off at the big toe.
Our feet do a fantastic job of getting us where we need to go, protecting us from injury, and adapting to many types of surfaces and functions. For the most part, we can take them for granted.
But when they’re not holding up, you know where to find me!