The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

America’s Foot Problems

Posted by on Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012


Earlier this summer, the Institute for Preventative Foot Health released the results of a survey they did to assess the state of Americans’ feet. Here’s the good news: if you have foot problems, don’t feel like you’re the only one–you’re not. Here’s the bad news: it’s likely that you have or will experience some kind of foot problem.

Of the 1,456 people who responded (a sampling of adults 21 years and older), 78% said they had experienced some kind of foot or ankle problem. On the other hand, an impressive 83% rated their overall foot health as “Excellent, Very Good, or Good” (16% excellent, 67% “Good or Very Good”).  So overall, we think our feet are in good shape, but someone somewhere always has some kind of foot issue–54% of the responders said that they were currently experiencing one of the foot problems listed in the survey. Women were more likely to have foot issues than men, or–dare we suggest it?–were more willing to report them.


The top ten foot problems experienced by the responders were:

Ankle sprains (31%)
Calluses (27%)
Foot fatigue/sore feet (26%)
Cracked skin (20%)
Athlete’s foot (20%)
Foot pain (18%)
Ingrown toe nails (18%)
Heel blisters (17%)
Swollen ankles (17%)
Foot odor (16%)

More interesting facts from the survey:

  • People who were physically active reported overall better foot health than those who weren’t.
  • 52% reported having sore feet at the end of the work day, with 44% of those believing that the pain had a negative effect on their work.
  • Leisure activities also caused foot pain; 46% said they felt sore feet from shopping (shop till you drop, indeed).
  • Respondents were asked to give their height and weight, and that information was used to calculate their Body Mass Index (BMI), according to the methods used by the Center for Disease Control. Of those who fell into the “very overweight category,” 51% rated their foot health as fair or poor; 40% were currently dealing with a foot problem; 16% rated their current level of foot pain as “very high.”
  • Thirty percent said they felt self-conscious about their feet and 27% didn’t like people to see their bare feet.
  • 81% were unaware that the fat pads on their feet thin with age!
  • Only 18% said they had had their feet professionally measured with a device the last time they bought shoes.
  • People typically try on three pairs of shoes before buying one; men tried on 2.5 and women 3.3 (yes, I know, shoes don’t come in halves or thirds, but it’s a stat thing).
  • Running was the sport most likely to cause aching or sore feet (probably because you’re on your feet the entire time you’re running, pounding them on some kind of hard surface…).
  • 28% had consulted with a foot care professional when they experienced a foot problem; out of those people, 38% were over age fifty.

So there you go! The important thing to come from this survey is that many people have foot problems, and when they have them, they can get in the way of both work and leisure time. The answer? If you have an issue with your feet, see a podiatrist and get it taken care of so you can get back to your normal self!


If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.