Feet: Carrying us through our lives
Feet get subjected to a lot of wear and tear over one's lifetime. Feet bear all our weight and most Americans will have logged 75,000 miles on their feet by age 50, according to the American Podiatric Medical Association.
With 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons in each foot, along with the skin that covers it and the nails on our toes, our feet are at risk for a variety of conditions — such as an ingrown toenail, painful plantar fasciitis, bothersome bunions, unsightly warts or a broken toe — in addition to wounds or trauma.
For diabetics and older Americans, foot care is especially important. For diabetics, the disease can cause debilitating wounds and nerve damage, while foot pain in seniors can impact mobility and independence.
Individuals with diabetes need to pay particular attention to foot care, as 15 percent of diabetics will get a foot ulcer. Diabetes is also the most common cause of peripheral neuropathy, in which nerve endings are damaged. Toes are particularly vulnerable to this damage.
According to medical experts, 72 percent of Americans say foot pain impacts their daily life, yet only 22 percent seek treatment. Ninety percent of people with common foot pain will respond to conservative treatment, such as stretching, changing shoes and resting from activity.