Family sitting bare foot in chair

9 Fun & Surprising Feet Facts

by Mark Paigen 6 minute read

Your feet are truly amazing. They support your body and make it possible to run, jump, and dance. In short, your feet allow you to enjoy the world around you and live life to the fullest. Surprisingly, your feet are also some of the most sensitive yet durable parts of your body. For instance, feet are sensitive enough to detect the softest of touches and tough enough to withstand the harshest conditions.

Today, we're going to bring you some fantastic feet facts that are sure to blow you away!

Basic Facts About Feet

You might think your feet are just for walking, but they actually serve a lot more purposes than that. Your feet are an integral part of your body, providing you with a sense of balance, posture and are essential for your overall health. However, you may be unaware of some basic feet facts that affect you everyday.

For instance, did you know that each of your feet contains approximately 125,000 sweat glands, which help keep your body cool? Or that ¼ of your body's bones are located in your feet? It's true! Each foot has a total of 26 bones, 33 joints, 19 muscles and tendons and over one hundred ligaments.

Our feet are pretty incredible, especially when you consider that they didn't start out that way – they grew into the support system they are. Those bones in our feet are primarily cartilage when we're born. They only fully harden around the age of 21. Impressive!

9 Fun Facts About Feet

Those facts we just told you were only some of the most basic feet facts. There's way more to learn, so get ready. Here are nine fun facts about the foot.

  1. A Walk Around The World

    Every day, the average person walks between 8,000 and 10,000 steps. In an average lifespan, this equates to nearly 115,000 miles – that's more than four trips around the world!

  2. Foot Size And Width Are Increasing

    The typical American's foot has grown two sizes in the last forty years. This is because humans, in general, are becoming larger. As our generations grow, our feet broaden to handle the added weight. While retailers are responding by creating larger and roomier shoes, many consumers are still purchasing the wrong shoe size. According to podiatrists, ill-fitting shoes are to blame for many foot disorders, particularly among women.

  3. Toe-to-Thumb Transplants

    While this isn't the first choice when someone loses their thumb, it is possible to undergo a toe-to-thumb transplant. Thanks to contemporary science, if you lose your thumb, you may now replace it with a toe. While the big toe looks and functions more like a thumb, the second toe can also be used.

  4. The Most Ticklish Part Of The Body

    Have you ever wondered why your feet are so ticklish? There's actually a reason for it! In our feet, we have over 8,000 nerves and a vast number of nerve terminals near the skin. You have more nerves per square centimeter in your feet than anywhere else on the body!

  5. The Relationship Between Women And Heels

    Women are four times more likely than males to have foot issues. This is primarily due to footwear selection. Multiple foot problems are caused by high heels and shoes with sharp, small toe boxes. The most common issues include bunions, corns, hammertoe, and plantar fasciitis.

  6. What's Up With Old People Toenails?

    Our toenails expand as we age, making them difficult to cut. As we become older, our toenails develop slower, leading the nail cells to collect. Thickening can also be caused by stubbed toes, improper shoes, and trauma (think dropping a heavy object on your foot). Other more serious causes include fungal infections and peripheral artery disease, which narrows arteries and restricts blood supply to limbs, leading to toenail issues in the elderly.

  7. How Many Bones Are In A Toe?

    Despite its name, your "big" toe only has two bones, whereas your other toes have three. The bones in your toes are called phalanges. However, some people have more than five toes on each foot, which is called polydactylism. This condition is typically inherited from a single gene. The extra toe is usually found on the inner side of the foot.

  8. The Secret Behind Smelly Feet

    Remember those 125,000 sweat glands in your feet? While they do help keep you cool, they can also be the cause of smelly feet because those sweat glands create fluids. However, you may be surprised to learn that it's not actually the fluids that make your feet smell. Bacteria like to make their home on warm, sweaty feet. The bacteria then develop into larger communities (called bacteria colonies) where they survive on the dead skin cells and oils on the feet. Bacteria create acids as a result and these acids have a foul odor.

    If you don't want your feet to stink, wear clean socks with your shoes and avoid the accumulation of bacteria.

  9. Kids Have More Foot Stress Than Adults

    If you have kids or spend time with them regularly, this fact may not surprise you. The average child's foot is subjected to three times the amount of stress than an adult's because children are more active than adults and more likely to participate in high-impact activities. It's important that children have flexible, high-quality shoes with a well-made footbed, robust soles, and good shock absorption to help protect their feet. After all, prevention is the best medicine and it's never too early to start proper foot care.

Couple walking on the beach barefoot

What Are The Most Common Foot Problems?

Foot discomfort, stiffness, or hurting feet affect one in three adults over the age of 65. Carrying extra weight, wear and tear, and poorly fitted shoes are often the cause of these issues.

Your feet, just like the rest of your body, suffer wear and tear as you get older. Naturally, as you get older the chances of experiencing foot problems increases. Foot pain might be the first indicator of a more severe condition, such as a misaligned foot. It's important to be vigilant in monitoring your feet and seeking medical attention if you experience any pain or discomfort for longer periods of time.

So, what are common foot problems in older adults? How can you spot and treat these problems?

Athlete's Foot

Athlete's foot is a fungal infection that affects the regions between the toes and the soles of the feet. It can irritate the skin, resulting in a scaly, white rash with a red foundation. Itching, burning, peeling, and a mild odor are some of the other symptoms of athlete's foot. This condition can typically be treated with an antifungal product.


When it comes to aging feet, changes are happening with your skin too. While blisters can happen at any age, older adults are more likely to experience them because the skin on the foot starts to thin. The contact between the flesh on your foot and the inside of your shoe causes most blisters. Wearing comfortable, appropriate-size shoes and socks will help avoid blisters on your feet.


Why do toes curl with age? The base of the big toe joint has a bony lump called a bunion. The changes within the foot that generate the hump also lead the big toe to shift toward the smaller toes. The result is “claw-like” and curled toes. Bunions can be caused by congenital abnormalities, arthritis, trauma, genetics, or regularly wearing shoes with excessively tight toe boxes.

The best way to deal with bunions is by regularly icing the area and purchasing orthopedic shoe inserts to prevent them from coming back.


Corns and calluses are caused by frequent rubbing against a bony part of the foot, which is usually caused by ill-fitting shoes. Again, older adults are more likely to experience this due to the thinning skin on their feet.

Calluses occur on the soles of the feet, especially beneath the heels or balls of the feet, and the sides of the toes. Conversely, corns appear on the tops and sides of your toes and between your toes. Walking with these conditions can be difficult and uncomfortable.

Soaking your feet in warm, soapy water can help ease the pain and help in the removal of the dead skin cells (you can use a file for this). To prevent them in the future, apply moisturizer to the area nightly and wear the right-sized shoes.


A hammertoe occurs when your second, third, or fourth toes are crossed, bent in the center of the toe joint, or pointed at an awkward angle. Ill-fitting shoes are often the cause of hammertoes. Avoid wearing heels higher than two inches or shoes with a narrow toe box. You can treat hammertoes with a specific hammertoe pad. If you experience swelling, you should also ice the area.

Find Your Fit with Tread Labs

Luckily, you can combat the foot pains without changing your life. The right pair of orthotic insoles can provide the support you need throughout the day. If you're looking for insoles to relieve foot pain or you're hoping to prevent issues in the future, contact Tread Labs. We'll help you find your fit and make sure they're the last insoles you'll ever have to buy!

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