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Important things to know about your foot

Foot TipsThe importance of our feet needs no emphasis. The primary function of our feet is locomotion, though we employ our feet for a variety of sports and activities like skating, skiing, football, soccer, hockey, aerobic exercises, judo, karate, kung fu, foot boxing, cycling, operating equipment like motor pedals, machinery and a variety of other activities.

The human foot is very peculiar in structure and design from other mammals due to the upright structure of the human body. Since the entire body's weight comes on only the lower extremity as compared to other animals where the load comes on all the four limbs, our feet are prone to stresses and may get injured easily. We take about 10,000 steps everyday on an average so we can imagine the stress coming on the bones, tissues and ligaments of the feet. 10,000 steps everyday amounts to a distance equal to 4 times the circumference of the earth in an average lifetime. Hence the importance of taking care of feet needs no emphasis.


The foot is made up of 52 bones, tendons, joints, ligaments and muscles. About a quarter of the bones of our body are in our feet. The structure and design of the foot is an engineering marvel. The foot consists of toe nails, toes, instep, sole, ball and heel.

Types of feet

Feet are classified into three types based on the area of contact with the ground. The first is the flat foot. In this kind of foot the area of contact with the ground is maximum. Flat foot can cause problems in walking or running due to stretching of a ligament in the heel. This stretching can be corrected by surgical intervention. The second type of the foot is the normal foot. In the normal foot the area of contact with the ground is in normal limits. The final type is the high arch foot. The high arch foot has the lowest contact area. To determine what type a foot is, a wet feet test is used. In this the individual steps in water and walks on the floor. The footsteps are then studied to determine the type of foot.

Do's and Dont's

Today, in the market a large variety of foot gear are available. The purpose of footwear is not only protection of the foot but also comfort in carrying out activities. Footwear has become a major fashion accessory. The footgear consists mostly of two items namely the shoes and the socks. Shoes are made of harder material to protect the sole and softer material on the upper part of the foot. Socks or stockings are generally made of nylon. They are used for protection of the skin and covering the skin from direct contact with the shoe inner surface.

Shoe purchase should be done in the evenings. This is because in the evenings the foot is at the largest size. During daytime the feet are not completely spread but by evening the feet expand in size. This expansion is not noticed by naked eye but can make a difference between comfortable shoes and tight shoes.

Many people suffer from smelly feet. To avoid this use socks or stockings made of cotton. Remember to wash your socks on a regular basis otherwise the sweat trapped in your socks will produce bacteria, therefore the next time you wear the same pair of socks will have the bacteria acting on your feet and giving rise to a foul odour. Nylon stockings are the number one cause of smelly feet. Also purchase shoes which are airy and which breathe. To reduce smelly feet use the shoes only when necessary. Also using footwear like sandals or slippers will help in reducing smelly feet. The shoe material should preferably of leather or canvas as they allow ventilation inside the shoe.

While purchasing shoes always remember comfort should come prior to style. High heel shoes are also cause of many foot problems. High heeled shoes are preferred by many women because they look aesthetically appealing as well as the wearer looks taller than normal. Also high heels give shape to the legs and back side so that the wearer looks curvier than normal. However when women shift from high heels to normal shoes many times problems of shortening of Achilles tendon is observed. The long term use of high heeled shoes causes shortening of the Achilles tendon. Hence when the person switches to normal shoes this causes pain in the heels due to stretching of the Achilles tendon. Hence high heeled shoes should be worn only when required or as occasion demands and not as a regular practice or just for fashion on a regular basis.  
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