In honor of April as foot awareness month we wanted to take the opportunity to share some facts about your feet, how to take care of them and some modern treatments that we provide at West Coast Podiatry Center to keep you mobile, active and reduce pain.
Facts about your feet
The feet have about 250,000 sweat glands.
That’s the explanation if you’ve ever wondered why feet (and subsequently sandals and shoes) tend to have an odor. While here in Sarasota some foot sweating is to be expected, excessive sweating can be a symptom of a health condition called hyperhidrosis, which can affect the palms and soles. There are medications to reduce the symptoms.
The bones of your feet make up about 25% of the total bones in your body!
What a great trivia fact at your next dinner party. Your body has 206 bones in total. Each of your feet contain 26 bones. So together your two feet account for approximately 52 bones, or 25% of your total bone count. Now some of the more famous bones in your body might get all the press, (here’s looking at your spine and skull), but don’t discount bones like the talus and calcaneus. Without those guys as a solid foundation, the rest of your skeletal structure would be out of place!
The foot contains 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons and 33 joints.
When you think about walking along the sand on Anna Maria Island or Siesta Key beach, you’re probably not thinking about all those muscle, ligaments and tendons that are all active in keeping you stable, but it is precisely those little guys that help enable us to enjoy those strolls and not to mention our famous Siesta Key sunsets.
Your feet absorb more force than 2 African elephants every day!
That’s right, during the course of a typical day, your feet absorb a total force of about 26,000 pounds.
If you decide to wear heals that can increase the force by 75%! That’s like 3 African elephants on your feet every day.
Women experience about four times as many foot problems as men. The extreme strain added to the arch puts pressure and typically results in pain in the heel. Therefore, we always recommend to consider how often you must wear heels and when not wearing heels, we recommend shoes that properly support your feet throughout the day.
Our physicians at West Coast Podiatry Center can also prescribe a pair of orthotic inserts to aide in foot support.
Are your feet ticklish? That’s a Good Thing
There are about 8,000 nerve endings in our feet. When our feet are tickled, all those nerve endings begin to fire. That’s a positive sign of healthy feet. Feet that don’t respond to a soft tickle could indicate a health issue like neuropathy or potential nerve damage.
5 Ways to take care of your feet
- Maintain a healthy weight. As we walk during each step, force is applied to our feet. The more weight we carry, the greater the force on our feet. It’s similar to cars and trucks. Cars typically get better gas mileage because their engines have less weight to push versus heavier trucks that have to use more fuel to move heavier weight. Our feet will get better “mileage” the less weight they have to move. Other concerns with the feet in relation to being overweight are diabetes and poor blood circulation, both of which can lead to foot pain and loss of sensation in the feet.
- Wear good supportive shoes. With all the warm and sunny days here in Sarasota and Bradenton it can be very tempting to live the flip-flop and sandal lifestyle full time. However, sandals and flip-flops can have long term negative affects on our feet in two ways. First, they offer little to no support and force our feet and all those bones, tendons, and muscles to work overtime creating undue stress and potentially leading to reduced mobility. Second, with our outdoor lifestyle, having our feet constantly exposed to the sun can lead to skin cancer or melanoma. Occasional flip-flop and sandals won’t cause lasting damage, but try and limit when you wear them. We encourage our patients to wear comfortable, supportive shoes the majority of the time.
- Moisturize your feet. With age, the skin on our feet tends to get thinner and drier. That can lead to calluses and cracks that bleed, causing pain. Rubbing a specific moisturizing lotion on your feet after bathing can help. Remember to avoid between the toes which can cause excess moisture leading to infections.
At West Coast Podiatry Center we offer clinical grade soaks (Tolcylen) and specially formulated pharmaceutical topicals (EBM) to aide in keeping your feet properly moisturized.
- Implement good foot hygiene. Make sure to wash your feet thoroughly during a shower or bath. After showering or bathing, make sure to completely dry your feet. Don’t cut your toenails too far. Cut straight across which can help in avoiding ingrown toenails. To remove calluses, lightly file with a pumice stone. It is always a good idea if you wear nail polish to let your toenails “breathe” for a few days between applications.
- Stretch your feet. We often think of stretching our back, our shoulders, and our necks. But people rarely think of stretching the tops and bottoms of their feet. Those muscles are just as important for long-term mobility and avoiding foot pain. Click on this link to download our recommended stretching exercises for your feet.
Advancements in Foot Care
Even as we learn to take better care of our feet, sometimes due to injury, age, conditions, or other factors we can still experience issues with our feet. When these issues occur , we at West Coast Podiatry Center are prepared to help you by utilizing advanced treatments in foot care. We provide treatments such as Shockwave (EPT) and laser to treat a multitude of ailments aimed at reducing pain and avoiding surgery. We also have many podiatric specific pharmaceuticals and topical treaments to aide in foot care and healing. Our doctors and West Coast Podiatry Center are all well trained and ready to treat you. We serve the entire Sarasota and Bradenton region with centrally located podiatry offices.