Foot Facts

27 (Fun!) Foot Facts: Anatomy, Healthy Feet And Problems

Your feet work tirelessly day in and day out. Often they’re one of the most under-appreciated parts of the human body.

To help you better understand and appreciate your own feet, we bring you the most interesting facts about feet.

Anatomy Foot Facts

1. Nearly a quarter of all bones in our bodies are in our feet.

Almost a Quarter of the Bones in Our Bodies Are in the Feet

2. There are 26 bones in each foot, as well as 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons and 107 ligaments.

There are 26 bones in each foot, as well as 33 joints, 19 muscles, 10 tendons and 107 ligaments

3. Your feet may just be the most ticklish part of your body.

Your Feet May Just Be the Most Ticklish Part of Your Body

This is because we have 8,000 nerves in our feet.

  • Ticklish feet are a good sign, as reduced sensitivity could be a symptom of neuropathy, a medical condition that is often linked to diabetes.

4. Your two feet have 250,000 sweat glands that are capable of producing half a pint of sweat in a single day!

Your two feet can produce half a pint of sweat a day

5. Morton’s toe is the name given to the condition where the second toe is longer than the big toe. It affects 20-30% of the world’s population.

Morton's Toe – Where the Second Toe Is Longer than the Big Toe

6. When we’re born, our feet are underdeveloped, which is why it takes time for arches to form.

When we’re born, our feet are underdeveloped, which is why it takes time for arches to form
Did you know?

The bones in our feet don’t finish hardening until 21 years of age.[1]

7. Feet are your natural shock absorbers.

Feet Are Your Natural Shock Absorbers

8. Although prosthetics have come a long way, the complexity of the human foot and ankle mean it is hard to replicate.

The complex workings of the human foot mean it is hard to reproduce prosthetics

Healthy Feet Facts

1. Feet often reflect your general health. Abnormalities or pain in the feet can often signal more serious health conditions.

Abnormalities or pain in the feet can often signal more serious health conditions

2. The average person walks 110,000 miles in their lifetime.

The Average Person Walks 111,000 Miles in Their Lifetime

3. Eighty percent of Americans over 21 have reported having a foot ailment.

Eighty percent of Americans Reported Having a Foot Ailment at Some Point
  • The most commonly reported foot ailments include nail problems, plantar fasciitis, and pain in the balls or heels of the feet.[2]

These conditions often have over-the-counter and at home ways to relieve the pain. You’ll find some of the best products and remedies for foot pain relief here.

MYTH:

Athletic shoes are good for the feet and built to maximize comfort.[3]

4. Just two in ten people consider their foot health regularly.

Just Two in Ten People Consider Their Foot Health Regularly

5. The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the body.

The Achilles Tendon Is the Strongest Tendon in the Body

It connects muscles in the lower leg with the heel bone and is essential for walking and running.

6. Feet function best in their bare, or natural, state.

Feet Function Best in Their Bare or Natural State

The foot’s natural shape is when the heel and forefoot are level. Your toes need to freely flex, extend and spread. Shoes commonly elevate the heel and constrict the movement of the toes.

Foot Injuries and Problems

MYTH:

If I’ve broken a bone, I won’t be able to move it.[4]

1. Ankle sprain is the most common foot ailment, even compared to blisters, calluses, foot fatigue, cracked skin and athlete’s foot!

Ankle Sprain Is the Most Common Foot Ailment

2. Commonly seen in athletes, shin splints are a cumulative stress disorder caused by repetitive stresses on the bones, muscles and joints in the legs.

Shin Splints Are a Cumulative Stress Disorder

3. Women are four times more likely to have foot problems compared to men.

Women are four times more likely to have foot problems compared to men
  • This is primarily attributed to the fact that women wear heels. Western women started wearing heels in the 17th century after European men got the idea from Persian warriors.[5]

4. Plantar fasciitis is one of the most common forms of foot pain. It affects more than 2 million people a year.

Plantar Fasciitis Affects More than 2 Million People a Year

5. Rheumatoid arthritis can cause soreness in the joints, including the feet.

Rheumatoid Arthritis Can Cause Soreness in the Foot Joints

More than 54 million adults (aged 18 and over) have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.[6]

  • Women are more likely to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis at 26 percent, compared to 19 percent of men.[7]

6. It takes 12-18 months for a toenail to completely regrow.

A Toenail Takes 12-18 Months to Completely Regrow

7. Over the course of a day, your feet take a cumulative force of a couple hundred tons.

Your Feet Take a Cumulative Force of a Couple Hundred Tons Each Day

Fun Feet Facts

1. Shoe sizes were originally measured in barleycorns.

Shoe sizes were originally measured in barleycorns

This unit of measurement originated in the United Kingdom during the 14th century and is still being used around the world today.

Based on the length of a grain of barley, each shoe size adds a third of an inch, corresponding to the fact that there are three barleycorns in an inch.[8]

2. Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight while you walk.

Each foot takes 1.5 times your body weight while you walk

3. When running, your feet take up to five times your weight.

Your Feet Take up to Five Times Your Weight When You Run

4. The first shoe dates back to 3,500 BC. Made of a single piece of leather, it was recently found in present-day Armenia.

Made From a Single Piece of Leather, the First Shoe Dates Back to 3,500 BC

5. 1 in 1,000 babies is born with an extra toe or finger. The condition is called polydactyly.

1 in 1,000 babies is born with an extra toe or finger. The condition is called polydactyly

6. Foot massages can improve your mood and overall health, plus they feel good!

Foot massages can improve your mood and overall health
  • For most people, it’s not feasible or practical to visit a masseuse regularly. If you’d like to give your feet frequent pampering, why not consider a foot massaging device for home use.
Did you know?

According to Harvard Health, massage devices from pharmacies or health stores can relax and restore your feet.[9]

We hope you’ve learned a thing or two about your feet. Now that you know how hard your feet work day after day, remember to take the time to care for them.

References

  1. Spanne, A. (2018). 14 Facts About Feet [Online]. Mental Floss. Available from: https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/72021/14-funky-facts-about-feet [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  2. American Podiatric Medical Association (2014). Public Opinion Research on Foot Health and Care [Online]. Available from: https://www.apma.org/files/APMA2014TodaysPodiatristSurveyAllFindings.pdf [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  3. Hughes, R. (2021). Feet & Footwear Myths [Online]. Natural Footgear. Available from: https://naturalfootgear.com/blogs/educational-articles/feet-footwear-myths [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  4. Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Centers (2021). Myths About Foot & Ankle Injuries [Online]. Available from: https://www.afacc.net/foot-problems/myths/ [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  5. Spanne, A. (see footnote 1)
  6. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2020). How CDC Improves Quality of Life for People With Arthritis [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/resources/publications/factsheets/arthritis.htm [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  7. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2018). Arthritis-Related Statistics [Online]. Available from: https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/data_statistics/arthritis-related-stats.htm [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  8. Scott, M. (2017). Shoe Sizes Explained [Online]. Our Everyday Life. Available from: https://oureverydaylife.com/shoe-sizes-explained-12207347.html [Accessed 19 March 2021].
  9. Harvard Health Publishing (2014). Foot massage: The pause that refreshes and is good for you! [Online]. Available from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/foot-massage-the-pause-that-refreshes-and-it-good-for-you [Accessed 19 March 2021].