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Feet, Feet, Feet!

Posted Aug 12 2008 3:11am

It was a year ago this week when my son started his journey through the doctors and specialists to try to find relief from the pain in his feet.  And even though it has been his journey, my respect for feet and the joy or pain they can bring to my entire body (or my son's) has greatly increased.    I knew as a runner that when my feet hurt - everything hurts.  But it was only after seeing the extreme side of foot pain when I realized how much it can truly impact an entire body.  The knees, the hips, the back, the shoulders - Feet_wordle_2 everything!

So in celebration of our feet, I thought I would share a few facts I picked up along our journey from the various doctors we have visited.  Most of these were passed along while waiting for a doctor, a test, etc.   I found this list and this blog post which replicated many of them:

  • Most people have 26 bones in each foot, which is more than a quarter of all the bones in your body.   Fourteen of the 26 bones are found in the toes. Each toe has three bones, except the big toe, which has two. Thirty-three joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways.
  • 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.  Each foot is capable of absorbing pressures of more than one ton per square inch.
  • The soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and sensitive nerve-endings per square centimetre than any other part of your body. 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.
  • Lower backache, headaches, indigestion and a misaligned spine can often be traced to problems with your feet.
  • The gait pattern of your right foot does not usually match that of your left.   In fact, most people have one foot larger than the other.
  • Standing in one spot is far more tiring than walking. The reason for this is that demands are being made on the same few muscles for a length of time.
  • Corns and calluses are never normal, but they are the most common foot problems. They indicate that you could benefit from foot alignment or from better choice of shoes. The next most common foot problems are warts, blisters, athlete's foot and fissures.
  • The skin on your feet is thicker than it is anywhere else on your body.
  • When you are stressed, you are more susceptible to the virus that causes warts on the foot.
  • The average person walks the equivalent of three to four times around the world.  Makes me wonder how many times us runners go around the world?
  • Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels often are the culprit.

So how do you take care of these special little partners?  Common sense tips for runners include:

  • Choose the right shoe.   The right fit that doesn't rub too much but still provides room for the toes is critical.   
  • Don't skimp on socks.  Take the same amount of care choosing your sock as you do your shoes.   The right sock will help keep moisture and friction away from your feet.
  • Early treatment.  Corns, calluses, blisters, athlete's foot, warts need to be treated early on to prevent more serious and potentially painful larger issues.  Check out, or dr. pribut's site for great tips on keeping feet healthy.
  • Treat your feet.  Don't forget to indulge your feet in some pampering whether that be a foot massage, a cool and refreshing foot creme or even some time propped up on the couch.

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