Facts about Feet


In this section, you will learn a lot about feet.

1. Are foot problems widespread?

Its estimated that 40% of Australians will experience foot health problems with varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives.

2. Are feet complicated?

The foot is an intricate structure containing 26 bones each, 33 joints, (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than 100 muscles, tendons and ligaments to hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways and over 8000 nerves

3. Are there a lot of bones in feet?

The 52 bones in both your feet make up about one-quarter of all the bones in your body. When these bones are out of whack, it is likely that so is the rest of your body.

4. How much sweat do your feet produce each day?

There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands excrete as much as 500 ml per day (Source: Australian Podiatry Association Vic.)

5. How far does the average person walk during a typical day and during their lifetime?

The average person will walk up around 128,000 km over a lifetime. That’s enough to go around the circumference of the earth 3-4 times!

6. How much pressure goes into your foot while you are walking?

There are times when you're walking, that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight, and when you're running, it can be 3-4 times your weight.

7. Do more women have foot problems then men?

Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels often are the culprit.

(A study by the American Foot and Ankle Society in 2001 revealed that 88% of women were wearing shoes that were too small. Of this same population, 55% had bunions).

8. What tips should I follow when shopping for shoes?

Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon. Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, and it's best to buy shoes to fit them then. Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes and do it while you're standing. When you try on shoes, try them on both feet; many people have one foot larger than the other, and it's best to fit the larger one.

If you put on weight, the bone and ligament structure of your feet may change. You should get your shoe size and style rechecked to ensure that the shoes your wearing (or buying) are still appropriate for your feet

9. How should toenails be trimmed?

Trim your toenails straight across with clippers specially designed for the purpose. Leave them slightly longer than the tips of your toes.

10. What exercise is safe for your feet and good for your overall health?
Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all-around well being.

11. Can serious medical problems first show up in the feet?

Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet -- so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.

See your GP or podiatrist if you have any serious concerns. Attend to foot ailments early as it may save you discomfort in the future. Your feet have to last you a lifetime.

12. Are all foot problems hereditary? Are you born with foot problems or do they develop later?

Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems. It's neglect, a lack of awareness of proper care and ill-fitting shoes that bring on the problems. A lifetime of wear and tear, plus neglect, accounts for the fact that most podiatrists patients are made up of mature age people.

13. What are corns and calluses?

Corns and calluses are caused by friction and pressure from skin rubbing against bony areas when wearing shoes. If the first signs of soreness are ignored, corns and calluses rise up as nature's way of protecting sensitive areas.

14. Are corns and calluses common?

A high percentage of our population has corns or calluses each year. Of the three major types of foot problems (infections, toenails, and corns and calluses), people are less likely to receive treatment for corns and calluses and more likely to continue to have corns and calluses as a problem without treatment. FlipNFile is a great preventative tool.

15. What are plantar warts?

Plantar warts are caused by a virus which may invade the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. Walking barefoot on dirty pavements or littered ground can expose feet to this sometimes painful skin infection.

16. Do many people have athlete's foot (Tinea) or other foot infections?

Perhaps the skin in between your toes is itchy. Or the skin on the sides of your feet is flaking and irritated. These are classic signs of athlete’s foot. Doctors call it tinea pedis and it’s a common fungal infection, affecting 15 to 25% of people at any one time.

17. Do many people have ingrown toenails?

Ingrown toenails are common. 20 out of 100 people who see their doctor because of an ingrown toenail. Teenagers and young adults often develop them. This is because they tend to sweat more, for instance, due to hormonal changes during puberty or when doing sports. But ingrown toenails are common in older people, too.

18. Do many people suffer from fallen arches or injuries to their feet?

About 1 in 5 of the population has foot injuries, bunions, and flat feet or fallen arches each year. Foot pain, aching or stiffness is reported in their feet to GPs or Podiatrists each year. Females, those aged 50 years and over, classified as obese and who reported knee, hip and back pain were all significantly more likely to report foot pain.

19. What are the most frequently occurring foot problems?

The top 10 are:

    1. Athletes Foot
    2. Bunions
    3. Diabetic neuropathy
    4. Ingrown toenails
    5. Plantar fasciitis
    6. Blisters
    7. Corns
    8. Heel spurs
    9. Claw toe
    10. Stone bruise

The most commonly reported foot ailments include nail problems, plantar fasciitis, and pain in the balls or heels of the feet.

20. Do more people visit podiatrists as they get older?

Foot disorders in the elderly are extremely common and are the cause of much pain and disability, and consequent loss of mobility and independence. As people age, they increasingly choose a podiatrist to address their foot health care needs.

Medicare data verifies that podiatric physicians are the physicians of choice for 83 percent of hammertoe surgery, 67 percent of metatarsal surgery, 77 percent of bunionectomy surgery, and 47 percent of rear foot surgery. Medical Economics magazine reported that 56 percent of all older patients have seen a podiatrist.

21. What are the statistics on the treatment and care provided by podiatrists?

Podiatric physicians provide treatment for 82 percent of corn and callus problems, 65 percent of toenail problems, 63 percent of bunion problems, 46 percent of flat feet or fallen arches problems, and 43 percent of toe/joint deformities.

Patients with foot problems visit podiatric physicians an average of 3.7 times a year, orthopedic physicians 3.4, osteopathic physicians 3.2, all other physicians 3.0, and physical therapists and others 7.1.