The human foot really is an amazing piece of work. Most people hardly pay any attention to the massive amount of work that their feet put in every single day but in my estimation, they are probably the single most important part of your body. I mean, a brain is pretty important too. OK, they're the second most important part of your body. Well... The heart...
We could go on like this for days, making arguments for one part or another but the truth is you'd be hard-pressed to part with any of them. Your feet are the root of your body, and that makes them extremely important. Feet shoved into ill-fitting shoes can cause pain and problems from the feet themselves all the way up to your neck and shoulders. They need to be cared for!
But that's about enough gushing about the feet, let's take a look at what makes them just so amazing. Some of these crazy foot facts are guaranteed to blow your mind.
Bag of Bones
Each foot contains 26 bones. That's a total of 52 bones when counting both feet. An adult human has 206 bones in their body, and over 25% of those are located in the feet! They certainly don't seem bony for having such a huge number of bones in them... Well, many of these bones are very tiny, and the reason so many bones are needed is so the foot can remain flexible. If the entire foot was made of rigid bone then a small stone could easily create a fracture when stepped on at running speeds. Nature knew exactly what it was doing when creating the marvel that is our feet.
The number of sweat glands in the feet is equally overwhelming! The feet contain over 250,000 of these little pores. They are able to secrete a half pint of fluid per day... Most of which ends up absorbed by your shoes and socks. That much moisture is a breeding ground for stinky foot bacteria to take hold, so fight back with our grape shoe deodorizing powder! While there are over 2 million sweat glands spread over the human body, they are most concentrated in the soles of your feet.
That's a very small area holding 12.5% of your total sweat glands. Other highly concentrated spots include the palms your hands, forehead, and the old classic... The armpits. When it comes to the least concentrated area of sweat glands you might be surprised to learn that it's the giant patch of skin on your back. Unless you count having zero sweat glands, in which case your lips and the inside of your ear canal would take home the gold.
The Nerve of Them!
Did you think that the huge proportions of things contained within the foot would end at bones and sweat glands? Far from it! Your feet also have the highest number of nerve endings in the body, only comparable to your hands. This seems strange since we don't actually touch things with our feet that often, but we're actually touching things with our feet all the time.
It's extremely important for the foot to be able to gauge the conditions of the ground you're walking on. It can seem like a hindrance while sprinting across hot asphalt to grab delicious groceries from the car without resorting to putting shoes on, but this sensory information is extremely important. Your feet are telling you "don't stand here for too long or we will get blisters". Before inventing houses and cars, a bad blister could truly be a death sentence.
These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
Speaking of movement, care to guess how many miles the average human will walk over a lifetime? We take around 8,000 to 10,000 steps in a day... Though we're talking averages, so some do much less and allow others to do the heavy lifting. I definitely fall near the lower end of this spectrum. These average steps quickly add up and by the end of a lifetime the average human will have trekked over 115,000 miles. If that doesn't seem like very much, consider that the Earth is 24,901 miles. This means you could spend that lifetime circling the entire circumference of the globe almost 5 times. Hmmm... Four trips around the world, or a few million trips to the fridge and back? It's kind of a tough call on which is the lifetime better spent.
Speaking of cumulative statistics, care to take a guess at the total weight of the forces exerted on your feet over the course of a single day? If we take the average of 9000 steps per day and multiply it by a person's body weight, we can get a rough estimation of this number. So for me, 9000 steps multiplied by 180 pounds comes to 1,620,000 pounds of force going through my feet every single day. 810 tons is equivalent to the weight of 4 blue whales or one fully loaded dump truck. My poor feet get put through a heck of a lot! So it goes without saying that I do my best to take care of them.
How Can You Take Care of Your Feet?
Well-fitting shoes are important, and keeping them tied tight can be a huge help in keeping them from slipping and sliding around your foot and knocking your entire body out of alignment. These reflective kids shoelaces come in fun colors and are highly reflective, just in case you find yourself out and about at night! In addition to keeping your shoes sized and held in place properly, let your feet breathe from time to time. If you take your shoes off while at home you'll be shocked at how much better your feet feel.