Foot Facts

1. Seventy-five percent of us will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in our lives.  Even Socrates knew how much feet could hurt.  He once said, "When your feet hurt, you hurt all over," an expression later used as a slogan by the Dr. Scholl Company.  

2. Despite the fact that so many people experience foot pain, only a fraction of people with foot pain seek medical treatment.  The reason?  Many people have the erroneous notion that their feet are supposed to hurt.

3. Each foot usually contains twenty-six main bones--plus an extra pair of small ones known as sesamoids, for a total of 28.  But some people can have more or less.  This makes up around one quarter of all the bones in your body.  There are also 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles and tendons.  The great Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci, the first individual to create accurate anatomical drawings of the foot, called them "a masterpiece of engineering and a work of art".   

4. 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.

5.  Your two feet strike the ground a combined total of about 1,800 times in the average mile of walking.  

6.  The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day.  That's equivalent to a combined total of about 5 miles of walking accumulated through the day, or about 115,000 miles in a lifetime.  That's more than four times the circumference of the globe.  And it's a distance nearly half way from the earth to the moon.  

7. When you walk, the forces borne by your feet are about one and one-half times your body weight.  When you're running, it can be three or four times your weight.  When you jump, forces can exceed eight times your body weight 

8. Women have about four times as many foot problems as men; lifelong patterns of wearing high heels and other inappropriate shoes are the primary cause.  

9. Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon, as 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 every time 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.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12.  Speaking of diabetes, a century ago, the only practical way of knowing whether a patient had diabetes was to discern whether there was sugar in the patient's urine.  And the only way to know this was to taste it.  

13. As a person's income increases, the prevalence of foot problems decreases.

14. Podiatric physicians are four times less likely to use costly inpatient services than other physicians.

15. There are approximately 11,000 podiatric physicians practicing in the U.S. and Canada. 

16. Over the past 10 years, an average of 592 new podiatric physicians graduated yearly from the 7 podiatric medical colleges.

17. On average, the podiatric physician is 42 years old and has been in practice 13 years.

18.  Only a little more than 14 percent of podiatric physicians are female.

19.  Dr. Tom Amberry, an octagenarian and retired podiatrist is the world champion in shooting free throws.  He recently made a record 307 consecutive free throws in 59 minutes, besting his previous record by two.  But this hardly compares to his 1993 record of 2,750 consecutive free throws in 12 hours.  

20.  Saint Servatus is the patron saint of foot troubles, lameness and rheumatism.  He's also invoked against rats and mice.   

21.  The Greek god of healing is Asclepius.  

22.  Doc Martens shoes were actually invented by a German doctor named Dr. Maertens, who invented them after a skiing accident in 1945.  

Other Facts

1.  The first hypodermic needle was a hollow feather quill used by Christopher Wren, the famous London architect.  

2.  If you add up the time the average heart stands still between beats over a lifetime, it would stand still for about 12 years.

3.  Ancient Egyptian physicians applied general anesthesia to their patients by hitting them over the head with a mallet.  Without knowing it, they also used penicillin thousands of years before it was rediscovered in modern times--they applied moldy bread (which has natural penicillin) to wounds.  

4.  Florence Nightingale, the originator of modern nursing as we know it, only worked as a nurse for two years.  She then contracted an illness that left her an invalid for the remaining 54 years of her life.

5.  During the 20th century, the average human lifespan has increased by 30 years.

6.  80% of people over the age of 100 are women.  

7.  Particles ejected in a sneeze have been clocked at over 100 miles per hour.  

8.  If your circulation system was laid out end to end, it would circle the globe 2.5 times.  That's about 60,000 miles.  

9.  If your digestive system were stretched out, it would be the height of a 3-story building.  

10.  You use an average of 43 muscles to frown, 17 to smile.

11.  The average human blinks 6,205,000 times per year.  Considering the eyes stays closed for an average of .0067 seconds in each blink, this means in a year, the combined total time your eyes are closed while blinking is over 11.5 hours per year.   

12.  The average human produces a quart of saliva a day--10,000 gallons in a lifetime.  

13.  The average human's heart will beat 3 billion times in a lifetime.  

14.  The average human's heart will pump 48 million gallons of blood in a lifetime.  That's nearly enough to fill 100 Olympic-sized swimming pools.  

15.  The average human consumes 100 tons of food and 12,000 gallons of water in a lifetime.  

16.  The average human body contains enough iron to make a 3-inch nail, enough sulphur to kill all the fleas on an average dog, enough carbon to make 900 pencils, enough potassium to fire a toy cannon, enough fat to make 7 bars of soap, enough phosphorus to make 2,200 match heads, and enough water to fill a 10-gallon tank.  

17.  Jimmy Carter was the first U.S. president born in a hospital.  

18.  2 million people develop a hospital-acquired infection each year in the U.S., 4.5% of whom die as a result.

19.  The average man has 1.5 gallons of blood.  Women average .875 gallons.  

20.  The average wait in a U.S. doctor's office is 20 minutes.  

21.  Famous individuals who were also doctors:  Authors Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Anton Chekhov.   

22.  Famous individuals who were also pharmacists:  Sir Isaac Newton, Benjamin Franklin, Benedict Arnold, philosopher, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Amerigo Vespucci (after whom "America" was named), authors O Henry (William Sydney Porter), Dante Alighieri, Henrik Ibsen and U.S. politician Hubert Humphrey.  

23.  Famous individuals who were also dentists:  Paul Revere, "Doc" Holliday (of OK Corral fame), Pearl Zane Grey (who authored his numerous western novels by writing books between patients, and inventors G.W.A. Bonwill (invented the safety pin), William Lowell (who invented the golf tee), and Thomas Welch (who invented Welch's grape juice).  

24.  Famous individuals who were ambulance drivers during World War I:  Walt Disney, Ernest Hemingway, e.e. cummings, W. Somerset Maugham, Archibald MacLeish, Jon Dos Passos and Dashiell Hammett.  

Information in Foot Facts comes from the American Podiatric Medical Association, which cites as its sources the Association of Colleges of Podiatric Medicine, American Hospital Association, Council on Podiatric Medical Education, Podiatry Insurance Company of America, United States Bureau of the Census, the United States Department of Health and Human Services and the book "Doctors killed George Washington". 




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The Achilles Foot Health Centre
S. A. Schumacher, D.P.M., F.A.C.F.A.S., F.A.C.F.A.O.M.  
Dr. S. A. Schumacher, Podiatric Corporation  

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