Your feet do a lot more than help you walk, so you should never take them for granted.
Here are a few foot facts that may surprise you.
Feet Grow for Years
Your feet grow throughout childhood – at times with extraordinary speed. From 0 to 2 they double in size every two months! They slow down slightly at 2 years but keep growing in fits and starts until around 20 years old.
Even then your feet don’t stop developing. In your 40s they tend to flatten and elongate so they become longer and wider. Pregnancy also makes your feet grow slightly due to hormonal changes and the extra weight you carry.
Unique Shape and Size
Our two feet may seem identical but each has its unique features. Toes on one foot can be longer than on the other, the width of the feet may vary, arches can be higher or lower, and heels narrower. Around 60% of us have feet that differ in size and shape (which is why shoe shopping can be such hard work).
Amazing Nerve Endings
Each foot has around 200,000 nerve endings which function as sensory receptors to transmit information to your brain about pressure, temperature and movement. This allows you to move, balance or touch something without conscious thought or effort – a system known as proprioception.
The nervous system throughout your body performs this function but your feet are the most important sensory organs in the proprioception system.
Toes Have Superpowers
Your toes are essential for balance, movement and weight bearing as their nerves send signals to the brain to control these activities. Without toes, your feet wouldn’t work at all.
Toes constantly touch the ground as you move, but your big toes are the ones in charge. As they press down, they alert the brain that you are well balanced and ready to go. They also act as springs to push you off and keep you stable. If the function of your big toe is impaired for any reason (injury, misalignment or infection for example) you’ll struggle to balance or walk at all.
No Hands Necessary
Injury, illness or impairment leaves some people without proper use of their arms or hands. Fortunately, feet can be trained to do amazing things to make up for the loss of other limbs.
It’s possible to paint, drive, play an instrument or write with feet. The Romanian musician Alberta Mosnegutu plays the piano with hers and Jessica Cox flies a plane without arms – proof indeed of how incredibly versatile your feet can be.
A Good Tickle is Healthy
All those nerve endings make your feet the most ticklish part of your body. A good tickle can be irritating, prickly, exciting, or pleasurable, but this is good as it means that everything is working properly.
If you don’t feel anything much when tickled it may indicate nerve or tissue damage – a sign to talk to a healthcare professional as soon as possible to prevent further problems.
Strong Enough to Carry an Elephant
Every day your feet are subjected to huge amounts of pressure. They absorb approximately 26,000 pounds of weight, which adds up roughly to two elephants! High heels increase that even further so it’s no wonder our feet start to wear out as we age. They can do amazing things but we need to look after them properly.
Did any of these foot facts surprise you?
Talk to the Experts at Feet By Pody
At Feet By Pody we’ll help keep your feet in the best shape possible.