Facts about your Foot
1. Are Foot Problems Widespread?
Seventy-five percent of Americans will experience foot health problems of varying degrees of severity at one time or another in their lives.
2. Are feet complicated?
The foot is an intricate structure containing 26 bones. 33 joints, 107 ligaments, 19 muscles, and tendons hold the structure together and allow it to move in a variety of ways.
5. How far does the average person walk during a typical day?
The American Podiatric Medical Association says the average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day. Those cover several miles, and they all add up to about 115,000 miles in a lifetime -
6. How much pressure goes into your foot while you are walking?
There are times while you’re walking that the pressure on your feet exceeds your body weight and when you’re running, it can be three or four times your weight.
7. What tips should I follow when shopping for shoes?
Shopping for shoes is best done in the afternoon, says the American Podiatric Medical Association. Your feet tend to swell a little during the day, and it’s best to buy shoes to fit them then. Have your feet measured every time you purchase shoes, and do so while you’re standing. When you try on shoes, try them on both feet many people have one foot larger than the other, and it’s best to fit the larger one.
9. What exercise is safe for your feet and good for your overall health?
Walking is the best exercise for your feet. It also contributes to your general health by improving circulation, contributing to weight control and promoting all-
10. Can serious medical problems first show up in the feet?
Your feet mirror your general health. Such conditions as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet -
11. How many podiatrists practice in the United States?
There are about 13,320 doctors of podiatric medicine actively in practice in the United States. There is an average of one podiatric physician for every 20,408 people, and they receive more than 60 million visits a year from people with any number of foot ailments. Yet this figure probably represents only a fraction of the number of foot problems. Mostly,they go unreported, say podiatrists, because many people have the erroneous notion that their feet are supposed to hurt.
12. Are all foot problems hereditary? Are you born with foot problems or do they develop later?
Only a small percentage of the population is born with foot problems, the American Podiatric Medical Association believes. It’s neglect, and a lack of awareness of proper care-
13. What causes corns and calluses?
Corns and calluses are caused by friction and pressure from skin rubbing against bony areas when wearing shoes. If the first signs of soreness are ignored, corns and calluses rise up as nature’s way of protecting sensitive areas.
15.What causes plantar warts?
Plantar warts are caused by a virus which may invade the sole of the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. Walking barefoot on dirty pavements or littered ground can expose feet to this sometimes-
16. What education is involved in becoming a podiatrist?
The podiatric physician (doctor of podiatric medicine, or DPM) is the health care professional trained in the care of your feet. These physicians receive conventional medical training plus special training on the foot, ankle,and lower leg. All 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico require that they pass rigorous state board examinations before they are licensed, and most require continuing education programs for regular license renewal.
The seven colleges of podiatric medicine all have entrance requirements that, like institutions granting MD (medical doctor) and DO (doctor of osteopathy) degrees, anticipate completion of an undergraduate degree, through they will consider candidates who show unusual promise and have completed a minimum of 90 semester hours at accredited undergraduate colleges or universities. However, the colleges report that recent entering classes were, on the average, almost as likely to have more than four years of undergraduate/graduate work as less than four.
20. Are corns and calluses common?
About 5 percent of the US population has corns or calluses each year. Of the three major types of foot problems (infections, toenails, and corns/calluses), people are less likely to receive treatment for corns and calluses, and more likely to continue to have corns and calluses as a problem without treatment.
22. Do podiatrists treat the largest percentage of the population that require foot health care services?
Podiatric physicians are the major providers of foot care services, providing 39 percent of all foot care (orthopedic physicians provide 13 percent of all foot care, all other physicians provide 37 percent of all foot care, and physical therapists and others provide 11 percent of all foot care).
26. How would you further describe the treatment and care provided by podiatrists?
Podiatric physicians provide treatment for 82 percent of corn and callus problems, 65 percent of toenail problems, 63 percent of bunion problems, 46 percent of flat feet or fallen arches problems and 43 percent of toe/joint deformities. Patients with foot problems visit podiatric physicians an average of 3.7 times a year, orthopedic physicians 3.4, osteopathic physicians 3.2, all other physicians 3.0 and physical therapists and others 7.1
27. Do more people seek foot treatment, as they get older?
As people age, they increasingly choose podiatric physicians. Medicare data verifies that podiatric physicians are the physicians of choice for 83 percent of hammertoe surgery, 67 percent of metatarsal surgery, 77 percent of bunionectomy surgery and 47 percent of rearfoot surgery. Medical Economics magazine reported that 56 percent of all older patients have seen a podiatric physician.
28. How many people see a podiatric physician each year?
About 5 percent of the US population sees a podiatric physician each year. There were more than 55 million patient visits in 1995, representing about 14 million people. In 1998, the average number of yearly patient contacts with a podiatric physician was 4,488.
29. Are podiatrists on the staffs of many hospitals?
About 81 percent of all US hospitals have podiatric physicians on staff. The larger the hospital, the more likely it is to have podiatric physicians on staff.
30. Are podiatrists affiliated with many managed care organizations?
About 87 percent of podiatric physicians are affiliated with preferred provider organizations, 52 percent with nursing homes, 81 percent with health maintenance organizations, 21 percent with academic institutions, and 12 percent with insurance companies, utilization review firms or peer review organizations.
32. Are the majority of podiatrists additionally qualified by board certification?
In 1998, 53 percent of all active podiatric physicians were certified by one or more recognized podiatric boards.