10 Things You Need to Know About Your Feet

Our feet are often a neglected part of our bodies.  We rarely give them a second thought, unless they are causing us pain.  And with the way things are right now, many of us are not frequenting nail salons for pedicures. This article will share some surprising facts about your feet.  Read on about 10 things you need to know about your feet!

1. Feet are Very Complex

As simple as they seem, our feet are very complex!  Each foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and 107 ligaments.  In comparison, our hands only have 29 bones, 29 joints, 34 muscles and 123 ligaments.

2. Wear Your Shoes!

Our podiatrists recommend that you wear shoes the majority of the time.  It is extremely important to make sure that some sort of foot covering is worn any time you enter a public area.   This is not surprising news, but it’s worth repeating: Public pools and showers, and gym showers and locker rooms are not safe for bare feet.  These areas are breeding grounds for the fungus that causes Athlete’s foot.   A general rule would be to wear some sort of flip flop or shower shoe, and be careful to dry your feet thoroughly, especially between your toes.

3. Cute, But Deadly!

The worst type of shoe that you can wear are those beautiful pointy pumps!  Our podiatrists recommend that you look for and select shoes that have a wide toe box, which will give your toes room to move.  High heels cause their own issues, therefore look for heels that are under 2” high.

4. Our feet can give us clues to our health

It is a well-known fact that our feet can illuminate underlying health issues that we might not be aware of.  Small changes in the feet and/or toes can potentially warn us of larger health issues.  Dry, flaky skin that won’t heal could indicate a problem with your thyroid.  And if your feet hurt the worst in the morning, you could be suffering from plantar fasciitis,  or arthritis.  Numbness in your feet could be a sign of diabetes.  Also pay attention to the hairs on your toes.  While mostly just a cosmetic bother to most people, if the hairs disappear suddenly, it can indicate peripheral arterial disease (PAD).  PAD is poor circulation caused by a buildup of plaque in the leg arteries.  This condition may also indicate blockages elsewhere in your body.  Any of these issues should be examined by a professional.

5. Can Toe Length be a Health Indication?

Actually, the answer is yes.  A second toe that is larger than your great toe is referred to as Morton’s Toe.  Studies have shown that people with second toes bigger than their big toe are at greater risk of back problems, bunions and hammer toes.  An estimated 20-30% of Americans have a second toe longer than the first.  The back problems can be attributed to uneven pressure distributed throughout your body.  Typical gait will cause all of your weight to push off of your great toe, however when the second toe is longer, it can cause your foot to roll and flatten.  This can cause all kinds of foot problems!  if you feel that you have Morton’s Toe, you should see one of our podiatrists before the problems multiply.

6. Feet Don’t Stop Growing

It’s not all in your head!  Your feet really are getting both larger, and wider, as we age.  This is because some of the tendons and ligaments that hold the tiny bones together in your feet lose their support.  As your feet are continuously changing, it is important to have your feet measured occasionally to insure a proper shoe fit.  Improper fitting shoes may cause discomfort in the form of blisters, sores and even bunions, to name a few.

7. Diabetic Feet Need Special Care

High blood sugar is the hallmark of Diabetes, and in turn can damage your nerves.  This nerve damage is often seen mostly in the feet.  Your feet may feel numb and develop blisters, ulcers and other deformities if not treated.  If you have diabetes, it is very important to check your feet daily for blisters, redness, cuts and ulcers.  Wounds that are not addressed may lead to an infection.  And neglected infections can lead to very serious consequences, including amputation.  A wound that will not heal needs to be seen by a doctor.

8. Toenail Fungus is Hard to Kill

Telltale signs of toenail fungus are discoloration and thickness, along with brittleness of the nail.  The best way to prevent fungus is to follow the advice in #2 above, along with keeping your feet dry and avoiding damp or sweaty socks.  The fungus thrives in warm, moist environments, so the drier your feet are, the less likely that the fungus can invade your feet through tiny cuts.  The best way to get rid of toenail fungus is to avoid it in the first place!  However, if you find yourself in this situation, we have several treatment options – make an appointment to discuss which one would be best for you.

9. Deodorant – for your feet??

It is no wonder that feet emit such odors…your feet have up to 250,000 sweat glands!  However, our feet are designed to sweat in order to help our bodies regulate temperature.  And regardless of physical activity, our feet are sweating all the time.  Hyperhidrosis is a condition where feet sweat too much.  It can be malordorus and cause blisters or Athlete’s foot.  Anti-bacterial soap and/or foot powder will control most foot order.  Antiperspirants that you use to prevent smelly armpits, and can work the same way on your feet!  The easiest way to apply would be a spray – and make sure that it dries completely.  And always wear shoes to prevent the bacteria from growing in your shoes and re-infecting your feet.

10. Lace your shoes properly

A common complaint that we see in our office is a patient experiencing redness and pain on the top of their feet.  This can be caused by the presence of high arches, and the laces on their shoes are irritating the feet.  A simple remedy is to skip the two holes in the middle of your shoes and make a vertical loop on each side.  Use some caution as this may cause the loss of a bit of stability, but the comfort you gain may be worth it.

We hope that these ten things to know about your feet are helpful!  Following these guidelines will enable you to take better care of your feet and your toes.  Every little bit counts when it comes to your feet, the foundation of your body!  Take care of your feet and they will take care of you.  We are here if you are experiencing any pain or irritations!

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