1. Seventy-five percent of Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives.
2. The foot is an intricate structure containing 26 bones. Thirty-three joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways.
3. The 52 bones in your feet make up about one quarter of all the bones in your body.
4. Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels often are the culprit.
5. The American Podiatric Medical Association says the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. Those cover several miles, and they all add up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime -- more than four times the circumference of the globe.
6. 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 three or four times your weight.
7. Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon, says the American Podiatric Medical Association. 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 everytime 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.
8. Trim your toenails straight across with clippers specially designed for the purpose. Leave them slightly longer than the tips of your toes.
9. 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.
10. 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.
11. There are about 10,700 doctors of podiatric medicine actively in practice in the United States, and they receive more than 55 million visits a year from people with any number of foot ailments. Yet that's probably only a fraction of the number of foot problems. Mostly, say podiatrists, that's because many people have the erroneous notion that their feet are supposed to hurt.
12. Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems, the American Podiatric Medical Association believes. It's neglect, and a lack of awareness of proper care -- including ill-fitting shoes -- that bring on the problems. A lifetime of wear and tear, plus neglect, accounts for the fact that the practices of most podistrists are made up of older Americans.
13. Corns and calluses are caused by friction and pressurefrom 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. 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.
15 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. About 19 percent of the US population has an average of 1.4 foot problems each year.
17. About 5 percent of the US population has foot infections, including athlete's foot, other fungal infections, and warts each year.
18. About 5 percent of the US population has ingrown toenails or other toenail problems each year.
19. About 5 percent of the US 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.
20. About 6 percent of the US population has foot injuries, bunions, and flat feet or fallen arches each year.
21. About 60 percent of all foot and ankle injuries, reported by the US population older than 17, were sprains and strains of the ankle.
22. As a person's income increases, the prevalence of foot problems decreases.
Sources for the data are the American Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine, American
Hospital Association, American Podiatric Medical Association, Council on Podiatric Medical
Education, Podiatry Insurance Company of America, United States Bureau of the Census, and United
States Department of Health and Human Services.