Your feet are incredible structures that often don’t get the attention they deserve. You rely on them every day to carry you through life’s adventures, yet many people know very little about their feet. In fact, you might not think much about them at all until they hurt.
In the spirit of honoring your feet (and all their hard work!), let’s highlight six lesser-known facts about your feet courtesy of board-certified podiatrist Dr. Francine Rhinehart.
1. About 25% of your bones are located in your feet
Adults have 206 bones in their body, and the feet are made up of 52 bones (26 in each foot). That means your feet contain about 25% of the total bones in your body. This intricate arrangement of bones forms the foundation that supports your entire body and allows you to stand, walk, run, and perform various activities.
Your bones don’t operate in a silo, though. With over 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments working in sync, your feet are the driving force behind your locomotion. From walking to running and everything in between, these intricate systems enable you to move gracefully and efficiently.
2. Your soles contain over 200,000 nerve endings
According to the Oncology Nursing Foundation, each of your feet contain 200,000 nerve endings each. This incredible sensitivity allows you to experience the world beneath you in intricate detail. From the texture of sand to the warmth of a cozy carpet, your feet are sensory powerhouses, constantly feeding your brain with information about your surroundings.
Unfortunately, this also means that your feet are at risk of conditions like peripheral neuropathy — a common complication of diabetes — if any of those nerves are damaged. Interestingly, all those nerves can create a wide variety of symptoms if they’re damaged. Don’t hesitate to let us know if you experience any pain, burning sensations, tingling, or even numbness.
3. Your arches can change over time
The arches in your feet are designed to adapt and flex as you move, provide stability and balance, and absorb some of the impact as you walk and run. Your arches can change over time; if they fall, you’ll likely experience conditions like plantar fasciitis.
Nerve issues, trauma, tendon damage, obesity, and pregnancy can all contribute to the development of fallen arches; however, Dr. Rhinehart emphasizes the importance of maintaining strong foot muscles to support your arches, addressing tendon injuries promptly, and managing underlying conditions like diabetes to help prevent issues like fallen arches or plantar fasciitis.
4. Foot issues can cause knee, hip, and back issues
Your feet play a crucial role in maintaining proper alignment for your entire body. Imbalances or misalignments in your feet can lead to issues in your knees, hips, and lower back. This is because your body is all connected in what’s called your kinetic chain.
The good news is that custom orthotics and proper footwear can help support your feet to keep your entire body in harmony.
5. Your feet were made to sweat
No one likes to think about sweaty feet, but your feet were designed to sweat… a lot! Your feet are home to around 250,000 sweat glands, producing approximately half a pint of sweat daily. This moisture serves as a natural cooling mechanism for your body.
However, keeping your feet clean and dry is essential to prevent issues like fungal infections. If a fungal infection does develop, don’t fret. With her International Aesthetic Foot Society (IASF) training in aesthetic podiatry, Dr. Rhinehart brings a unique approach, offering specialized solutions like Q-Clear™ laser therapy to make your feet healthy and beautiful.
6. Your feet give clues about your overall health
Did you know that the soles of your feet can reveal a lot about your overall health? Skin color, texture, or temperature changes can indicate underlying health issues, such as poor circulation — regular foot check-ups to catch any potential problems early on. The Smart Lower Extremity Disease Assessment (LEDA) can provide information regarding your peripheral artery disease or peripheral neuropathy risks.
Pamper your feet
Your feet are remarkable structures, and while pampering can include a good pedicure, don’t forget that pampering can also include investing in proper footwear, inspecting your feet daily, and keeping them clean and dry.
Do your feet need a little TLC? Call Francine Rhinehart, DPM, or click online to schedule a visit in the Oak Cliff neighborhood of Dallas, Texas.