Foot Fundamentals

Did You know…

Our feet can be pretty impressive. For example, did you know that there are 26 bones in each foot? That means one quarter of the 206 bones in the human body are in the feet. Take a look at these ten toe-curling facts, and be informed, be amazed, be inspired to take care of those feet!

your foot consists of 26 bones, 33 joints, and 100 ligaments.  For more on foot anatomy, click here.

the foot is divided into three sections: the forefoot, midfoot, and hindfoot. The forefoot consists of the five toes and five longer bones, the midfoot is the collection of bones that form the arches of the feet, and the hindfoot includes the heel and ankle.

20 different muscles are used to move the bones of each foot. You use 200 body muscles total to take just one step.

the soles of your feet contain more sweat glands and nerve endings per square centimeter than any other body part.

there are around 250,000 swear glands in a pair of feet that can produce up to a pint of sweat a day

in the United States, over 70 percent of the population will have foot problems at some point in their lifetime.

women have about four times as many foot problems as men, usually stemming from wearing high heels.

the average foot gets two sizes longer when a person stands up.

the average person walks approximately 115,000 miles in their lifetime, which is enough to circle the world four times.

during an average day of walking and activity, the totally forces on your feet can total hundreds of tons, or the weight of an average-sized, fully loaded cement truck.

Itching for more foot facts? Check out this awesome foot infographic.

Sources: FootCare Direct 28 Odd Facts about the Human Body Fun Foot Facts


Basic Foot Care

Congratulations, you are another step closer to having healthier feet! Reading about (and reviewing) the fundamentals of foot care is essential in knowing what it takes to keep your feet constantly looking and feeling in tip top shape. These practices can also help prevent infection, disease, poor circulation, and discomfort. Foot problems are many time the first indicators of more serious medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, and circulatory or nerve disorders, so it’s important to take foot care seriously.

  • Inspect your feet

Use a mirror to look at the bottoms of your feet, and keep an eye out for changes in color or temperature, cuts or blisters, and thick, discolored, or ingrown toenails that could get infected or develop a fungus. Read up on foot symptoms, conditions, and treatments here.

  • Don’t ignore foot pain

Although foot pain may be common, it’s not normal, so make sure to seek professional care if pain persists. Sometimes self-diagnosis and treatment can turn minor problems into a major one, so as always, be cautious of using home remedies for podiatry issues.

  • Wash your feet every day: 

Rinse with soap under warm water and dry thoroughly (don’t forget between your toes!). Learn all proper foot grooming techniques, tools, and requirements here.

  • Trim your nails regularly

File straight across, don’t cut too short, and don’t dig at the corners or cuticles. For more on nail trimming and care, read this exclusive guide to The Nail Necessities.

  • Pamper them often

Routinely giving yourself a pedicure at home and/or getting one at the salon or spa will keep your feet looking good and feeling fabulous. No matter your age or gender, Foot Beauty is for Everyone, so read up on At Home and Salon Pedicures.

  • Wear clean, cushiony socks

Change them daily, and don’t wear any that are too tight around your feet, ankles, or legs. For nurses, travelers, or those standing for long periods of time, compression socks might be the best choice to help alleviate some of that foot pressure. Wearing the proper socks is imperative for runners and sports enthusiasts: athletic socks are the perfect choice.

  • Dress in shoes that fit

They should be comfortable, provide the proper support for the activity you are engaging in, and shouldn’t squeeze or rub any part of your foot when sitting or standing. Podiatrists suggest purchasing shoes later in the day, when feet tend to be at their largest, and replacing worn out shoes as soon as possible. Visit our Sock and Shoe Comfort page for more on this subject.

  • Wear sunblock on bare feet

Without socks and shoes for protection, your feet are more prone to injury and infection in general. When at the beach or while wearing sandals, lather your feet in sunscreen just as you would the rest of your exposed skin. Burnt feet are not fun! For more on general sun safety–even into the winter months!–visit this amazing resource: The Sun Authority.

  • Exercise your feet frequently

Stretching, walking, running, and massages can help keep your feet healthy. In addition, make sure to stand up and move if you’re sitting for a long time: try these 4 Ways to Stretch and Strengthen your Tired Toes and these At-Home Foot Exercises. There’s also a wide-range of yoga and Pilates foot exercise tutorials that can be found on YouTube.

  • Give them some TLC

Always remember to put your feet up when you’re sitting down to keep them from getting swollen and to give them a break from the constant pressures placed upon them. When you need a break from your busy day, give your feet a break, too.

  • See your doctor

For professional foot check-ups and medical advice on foot health, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist* today. Diabetics should see a podiatrist at least once a year: diabetes is the leading cause of non-traumatic lower-limb amputation. For a full resource catered to those with diabetes, please visit our expansive Diabetes Resource Guide. Regardless, everyone should visit a podiatrist on a regular basis.

*To learn more about the profession, continue reading to the next section of this page.

For more information on how to take care of your feet for a lifetime, read this Foot Care Tips written by the National Diabetes Education Program.


Podiatry 101

A podiatrist, also known as a DPM (doctor of podiatric medicine) and a pediatric physician or surgeon, is a health care professional specializing in foot care. DPMs receive the proper education and extensive training to diagnose, treat, and prevent foot and ankle disorders. A podiatrist receives four years of graduate education at one of the eight accredited medical colleges to obtain a doctorate degree, participates in two to three years of hospital residency training, and passes national and state examinations to become board certified.

Podiatrists care for people of all ages and treat everything from common foot disorders to sprains, fractures, and other foot, ankle, or related leg injuries. Pediatric surgeons can diagnose medical problems and perform surgeries for foot diseases, deformities, and traumas.

To learn more about your feet and common conditions, find a podiatrist nearest you, and prepare for your next appointment, explore the resource below.

This resource was provided by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) and Today’s Podiatrist. Please search both reputable resources for more podiatry information. More specifically, check out a couple of our favorites from these sites:

  • Patient Checklist: a complete guide for what do before, during, and after each podiatrist visit.
  • Foot Tip Sheets: a ton of helpful pointers (and a definite must!) on how to keep you and your family’s feet healthy and safe, including footwear, children’s feet, general foot health, and walking.
  • Fast Facts on Women’s Feet: statistics on women’s foot ailments, footwear, and foot care.
  • Fast Facts on Men’s Feet: statistics on men’s foot ailments, footwear, and foot care.


Children’s Foot Health

It’s no secret that children grow like weeds, and so do their tiny and very active feet. A child’s foot is soft, pliable, and rapidly developing: during year one, their feet grow to almost half of their adult foot size. By the age of 6, the mature posture of the foot is attained, even when full skeletal maturity takes place between ages 18 and 23.

Foot care is imperative during our early and adolescent years, because improper treatment can impact foot development and create complications later in life.




  • Foot Complications:

There are a wide range of podiatry issues that young feet might encounter: hammer toes, flat feet, athlete’s foot, calluses, corns, bunions, and ingrown toenails (read about these conditions here). KidsHealth provides an endless list of resources and information that is parent and kid-friendly so you both can be in-the-know and up-to-date. For a complete list of childhood foot complications, click here.

  • Podiatrist Visits:

Once your child begins taking their first steps, take him or her to a podiatrist regularly to be sure his or her feet are developing normally. Podiatrists with check to make sure there are no complications going unnoticed and will give the expert advice you and your child need. Check out these FAQ’s about children’s feet and podiatrist visits answered by the APMA.

  • Everyday Footwear

Infants should wear lightweight, flexible footwear while outside or on rough surfaces, but are not required to wear shoes indoors (this helps the foot and toes mature, grow normally, and builds strength). Since their feet are growing at a rapid pace, get your kids’ feet measured frequently, make sure shoes are the correct size, and leave plenty of wiggle room for their toes. Listen and take action if your child if expresses foot discomfort. Read more about children’s footwear here and watch this APMA video about Kids’ Shoe Shopping: Easy as “1, 2, 3.”

  • Exercise

Childhood obesity is an epidemic spreading across America, so it’s important to your kids moving, grooving, and participating in regular exercise. Healthy feet are the foundation children and exercise. Watch this informative Today’s Podiatrist video on how to keep your child healthy with pain-free feet.

  • Sports

Sports are integral part of children’s exercise and development. Podiatric physicians say that parents should emphasize proper technique and basic movement skills in all sports in younger children, and save sports specialization for the late teens: children who concentrate on a single sport at too young an age are more likely to develop foot and ankle injuries. Rotating between a couple pairs of athletic shoes will help prevent shoe deterioration and foot pain. Read more about children’s foot health and sports at the American Academy of Podiatric Sports Medicine.

Other Sources:


Visit our section on common foot Conditions and Prevention for more on keeping your feet as healthy as they can be.