When most people think about miniaturized miracles, they’re probably referring to mini-computers or MP3 players. As a Pedorthic specialist, I relate that term to the human foot – a mechanism as beautifully engineered as anything man-made or divine.
Imagine, each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints, 38 muscles, 56 ligaments, tendons and a complex network of nerves and blood vessels. All is that packaged into each of the two extremities that provides standing balance to the rest of the body.
According to one study, the average pair of feet takes between 8,000 and 10,000 steps per day, traveling up to 80,000 miles over the course of the average lifetime. Feet absorb 1.5 times of one’s weight when walking and much more when one exercises.
Given this amount of pounding, it is not surprising that most Americans will visit their physicians at one point or another to deal with distressed feet. Some of their foot problems are hereditary and treatable, and others are brought on by specific conditions that can be corrected.
Modern medicine can detect and treat the causes of most foot problems, ranging from blisters to muscle and ligament injuries. Causes can be as simple as the wrong pair of shoes for a particular pair of feet, or they can be more complex, such as overuse, misuse or circulatory complications.
Whatever the circumstance, you are well advised to seek medical treatment at the first signs of unusual foot discomfort because a longer-term problem that begins in the feet can rapidly impact the ankles, knees and other parts of the legs. Musculoskeletal, circulatory or other serious conditions can be symptoms of much broader health issues.
By treating foot pain or distress early, you can avoid more complicated conditions that can lead to even greater discomfort and preclude the need for more extensive treatment for the future.