April 27, 2021: Your feet are amazing, don’t ignore them!
Don’t ignore your feet
When we are standing, running, walking and exercising, we take our amazing feet for granted. We use them in almost every activity, from walking to skiing, from football to rugby, from jogging to swimming.
What do you know about your feet?
For most of us, our feet are just something we walk on, just the point of contact between our body and the ground, but read on for some fascinating foot facts.
Animals are classified as plantigrade or digitigrade, depending on how much of their foot they walk on.
Plantigrades walk on the whole of their feet (such as people, bears, baboons, alligators and frogs).
Digitigrades walk on their toes (such as dogs, cats, birds and dinosaurs).
A biped is an animal with two feet (from the Latin bis, “twice”, and pes, “foot”).
Feet have many functions throughout the animal kingdom, not just locomotion.
Gannets use their webbed feet to incubate eggs,
butterflies ‘taste’ with their feet
elephants ‘hear’ through the soles of their feet, picking up vibrations from the ground
Geckos feet are sticky to allow them to ‘stick’ to surfaces
Ostriches only have two toes, but combined with long legs, can reach 40mph
Horses are the only animal with only one ‘toe’
mosquitos have scaled feet to allow them to land on water
crocodiles webbed feet take them from water to land
flying lemurs have toes that act like suction cups
As humans, we use Podiatrists (Chiropodists) to ensure good and continuing foot health. From a legal and registration point of view, the terms Chiropodist and Podiatrist are interchangeable and both or either require registration by the HCPC – The Health Care Professions Council.
The word Chiropodist comes from the Greek ‘cheir’ meaning hand, ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘ist’ the person who practices.
The term originated in England around 1785 largely to describe ‘corn cutters’ in an attempt to separate the emerging profession from its perceived humble roots, but is not widely recognised internationally. Therefore, the change to ‘Podiatrist’ in the mid 1990s.
Podiatrist comes from the Greek ‘pod’ meaning foot and ‘iatreia’ meaning healing, thus, one who heals feet.
A Podiatrist will not only treat your feet and lower leg, but will advise and educate you on the best way to look after your feet.
Many people ignore their feet while pounding the treadmill or cross training, but they can be considered the very foundation of physical well-being.
One quarter of the bones in the body are found in the feet and ankles
Most movement begins in your feet and much like the foundation of a building they determine stability
Perhaps the most neglected yet complex structure in the body
A marvel of biomechanics
When feet are strengthened it increases and reinforces whole body balance and core stability.
Almost eight out of 10 American adults have experienced a foot problem, according to a 2014 survey by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). The poll also revealed that 25% of adults were unable to exercise because of foot pain.
Many foot injuries are due to overuse, or trying to do too much with too little support.
Toes don’t need to have the dexterity of fingers but some dexterity is important and the muscles of the feet need to have strength.”
It is easy to exercise your feet.
Try picking up a duster, towel or marbles with your toes and strengthen the muscles that build arch strength
Stand on one foot for 10 seconds is a good way to build core strength. If it becomes too easy then do it with your eyes closed. This is useful in preventing falls in the elderly
spread, point and individually lift your toes
roll a tennis ball or drinks can underfoot
stand on tiptoe to strengthen your calves
Feet are integral to every movement and improving their fitness can only be beneficial.
many aspects of footcare can be tackled at home, but sometimes it is best to seek professional help and advice to determine the best way forwards.