At a Glance: Foot Health Care in 2017
Did you know 75 percent of Americans will experience foot health problems at some point in their lives?1 Severity ranges from minor aches and pains caused by overuse to extreme conditions that ruin your quality of life and require surgery to fix. Luckily, foot health has come a long way over the years with greater awareness and education around the care of your feet, the development of products like foot orthotics to relieve pain and discomfort, and better and safer procedures to correct foot problems.
Let’s take a deeper dive into your foot’s anatomy, and how you can care for and protect your feet.
The Remarkable Anatomy of Your Foot
Nearly one-fourth of your body’s bones are in your foot, with 28 bones, 30 joints, and more than 100 muscles, tendons, and ligaments. All these different parts must be at the top of their game and work together in order to help you stand, walk, run, and jump.
The 20 muscles in your foot are like the foundation. These muscles give your foot its shape, and provide a full support system for your body and the ability to move around.
Your muscles can’t do their job without working alongside the bones. This is where your tendons come in, almost serving as a matchmaker to connect the muscles to the bones and ligaments to form and maintain the foot’s arch. The star of the show is the Achilles tendon, which connects the calf muscle to the heel. This tendon is one of the main reasons you’re able to run, jump, stand on your toes and perform other activities like climbing.
The ligaments give your foot balance, strength, and stability. Your medial and lateral ligaments on the inside and outside of your foot help the foot move up and down, while the plantar fascia ligament forms the arch to allow the foot to walk. Since the plantar fascia ligament is responsible for your arch from the heel to your toes, this is why you feel pain at the bottom of your foot near your heel when the plantar fascia is strained.
Current State of Foot Health in the U.S.
Have you ever stopped to consider how much wear and tear you put on your feet from the walking and running you do every day? By the age of 70, the average person will have walked the equivalent of 4 times around the globe. That’s a lot of walking! Walking is one of the best forms of exercise, promoting greater circulation and overall well-being, but the problem is how we take care of our feet after so much stress and fatigue.
Remember how 75 percent of Americans experience foot problems? Only a small percentage are born with foot conditions. That means the majority of foot health concerns are caused by lack of proper care, neglect, and other health conditions like arthritis, diabetes, and circulatory disorders. More awareness and taking the time to care for your feet can help you spend less time in the podiatrist’s office and more time on your feet walking, running, and participating in the activities you enjoy.
Ways to Keep Your Feet Healthy and Strong
Your feet are truly amazing, working hard to keep you up and moving day-to-day. They help doctors work 12+ hour days without stopping, they help athletes run marathons and play sports, and act as a mode of transportation to get us from point A to point B. With all we’re capable of doing, shouldn’t we be taking care of our feet more?
Start by giving your feet the rest they deserve. If you’ve been on your feet all day or just completed a long training run, put your feet up and let them rest before you ask them to put in another intense day of walking and running. Go above and beyond for your feet with massages and pedicures to help relax the muscles, enable more circulation, and promote faster recovery.
Beyond rest, consider leveraging insoles like Powerstep’s Pinnacle and Endurance insoles to provide extra support for your feet. Sometimes we have to wear uncomfortable and tight-fitting shoes that put strain on our feet and toes and don’t have a comfortable enough insole to support your feet. Orthotic insoles provide more comfort, support, and balance your feet need to avoid fatigue and decrease any pain or discomfort from a current foot condition you may be struggling with.