Foot Facts

37 Quick Foot Facts: Anatomy, Healthy Feet, Injuries And Problems, (Fun!)

Contents

Your feet work tirelessly day in and day out. Often they’re one of the most under-appreciated parts of the human body — but feet need care too!

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

Anatomy Foot Facts

Before we can understand how to take care of our feet, we first need to understand how they work.

Take a look below at some of the best anatomy foot facts:

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

Your feet are home to almost a quarter of all the bones in your body

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

Inside each foot there are:

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

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
  • 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 is the name given to the condition 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 complexity of the human foot makes it hard to reproduce in prosthetics

Healthy Feet Facts

Our feet can tell us so much about our overall wellbeing!

Learn more from our list of foot health 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 110,000 miles in their lifetime

If you’re wondering what that equates to each day, statistics show that the average American walks between 3,000 and 4,000 steps daily.[2]

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

80% of Americans over 21 have reported a foot ailment at some point in their lifetime
  • The most commonly reported foot ailments include nail problems, plantar fasciitis, and pain in the balls or heels of the feet.[3]

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.[4]

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

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

Feet function best in their bare or natural state

Foot Injuries and Problems

With so much going on inside our feet, these foot injury facts may come as no surprise:

MYTH:

If I’ve broken a bone, I won’t be able to move it.[5]

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 caused by repetitive stresses on the bones, muscles and joints in the legs

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.[6]

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 each year

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

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

More than 54 million adults (aged 18 and over) have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.[7]

  • Women are more likely to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis at 26 percent, compared to 19 percent of men.[8]

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

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

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

Over the course of a day, your feet take a cumulative force of several hundred tons

Foot Care Facts

If you’ve tried all the lotions and potions on the market then read these foot care facts.

You may discover some less conventional treatment options…

1. Reciting a daily affirmation has been shown to reduce the associated symptoms of foot pain, including stress.

Reciting a daily affirmation has been shown to reduce the associated symptoms of foot pain, including stress

Reciting a positive daily mantra might seem an odd choice for foot care treatment but research shows it helps.

It’s easy to get started and there are even affirmations specifically for foot pain to inspire you.

2. Keeping your feet dry lowers the possibility of infection.

Keeping your feet dry lowers the possibility of infection

3. Acupressure is proven to relieve pain in your feet.

Acupressure is proven to relieve pain in your feet

It’s an accessible style of massage as you can buy a low-cost acupressure mat and learn how to use the treatment in the comfort of your own home.

Acupressure has a wealth of other health advantages too, such as relieving anxiety and boosting your circulation.

4. Writing in a journal can be an effective way to manage foot pain.

Writing in a journal can be an effective way to manage foot pain

Experts believe it can relieve the anxious and angry feelings that can come with chronic pain, and make you feel you have greater control over your condition.

5. Wearing shoes that don’t fit well is one of the main causes of ingrown toenails.

Wearing shoes that don’t fit well is one of the main causes of ingrown toenails

Facts about Toes

Ever wanted to know more about your toes? Of course you have!

Read on for more fascinating facts about your toes:

1. Your big toe only has two bones, compared to your other toes which each have three

Your big toe only has two bones, compared to your other toes which each have three

2. Toes can be used to replace a missing finger.

Toes can be used to replace a missing finger

3. Your big toe is the most important for maintaining your balance.

Your big toe is the most important for maintaining your balance

Fun Feet Facts

Looking for silly and fun feet facts? We’ve got you covered!

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.[9]

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.

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

4. The first shoe dates back to 3500 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 3500 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. The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and nerve endings per square inch than anywhere else on your body.

The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and nerve endings per square inch than anywhere else on your body
The most popular shoe sizes have increased over the last 30 years, from 7½ to 8½ for women, and from 9½ to 10½ for men
Did you know?

According to Harvard Health, massage devices from pharmacies or health stores can relax and restore your feet.[10]

8. A foot massage can improve your mood and overall health, plus it feels good!

A foot massage can improve your mood and overall health, plus it feels good!
  • 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.

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.

Laura Smith

Author

Laura Smith

Associate Editorial Manager

Specialist health & wellbeing writer, passionate about discovering new technologies & sharing the latest research.

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 11 January 2023].
  2. Rieck, T. (2020). 10,000 steps a day: Too low? Too high? [Online]. Mayo Clinic. Available from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/10000-steps/art-20317391 [Accessed 11 January 2023].
  3. 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].
  4. Hughes, R. (2021). Feet & Footwear Myths [Online]. Natural Footgear. Available from: https://naturalfootgear.com/blogs/educational-articles/feet-footwear-myths [Accessed 11 January 2023].
  5. Advanced Foot & Ankle Care Centers (2021). Myths About Foot & Ankle Injuries [Online]. Available from: https://www.afacc.net/foot-problems/myths/ [Accessed 11 January 2023].
  6. Spanne, A. (see footnote 1)
  7. 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 11 January 2023].
  8. 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].
  9. Scott, M. (2017). Shoe Sizes Explained [Online]. Our Everyday Life. Available from: https://oureverydaylife.com/shoe-sizes-explained-12207347.html [Accessed 11 January 2023].
  10. 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 11 January 2023].