The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Fun Facts About Feet!

Posted by on Monday, February 13th, 2012


Feet. You wear them everyday. But here are some crazy things you may not know about them:

  • 25% of the bones found in the human body are in the feet. Yup, that’s right–there are 206 bones in your body, and 26 are in each foot (the hand takes first place for most bones in a body part with 26 bones. Stupid, show-offy hands, always trying to one-up the foot). There also are 33 joints, 107 ligaments, and 19 muscles or tendons. That’s a lot of moving parts in a body part that’s often moving.

  • A foot sweats approximately half a pint of moisture per day. That’s because there are about 250,000 sweat glands in a foot. I’m not sure how I feel about knowing that much about sweaty feet. Let’s just say it’s a bodily quirk that isn’t going to make anyone’s list of “Sexy Things I Love About You.”
  • Running makes your feet feel like you have quadrupled in size. It’s clear that the pounding from running puts a lot more pressure on your feet, but how much? About four times your body weight. That’s bad enough when we’re talking about a 100 pound runner, but what about when it’s a 300 pound seven foot plus basketball player? No wonder my favorite NBA team looks like the waiting room at a podiatrist’s office.
  • Shoes were invented 5,000,000 million years ago. What was going on in that time period? Why, look, it was the Ice Age! No wonder people started strapping animal skins on their feet.
  • Hot weather, adolescence, and pregnancy are prime toenail growing time. Look out for summer, when you’re toenails are going to have a growth spurt, just like they had during your teen years. Women, file “fast growing toenails” under “More Weird Things My Body Does During Pregnancy.” The same rules apply for fingernails, by the way.
  • Right and left shoes were invented in ancient Rome. If you got up in the morning in ancient Greece, and put on a pair of sandals, you could just strap any one you grab on either foot. It took the Romans to say, “Hey, are two feet are sort of different shaped. Wouldn’t it be a lot more comfortable if we made different shoes for each foot?” This was especially important to the legions of soldiers constantly tramping around the Roman Empire, trying to maintain order throughout all the drama (and there was a lot of drama in Rome…).
  • Shoe sizes are based on the size of barleycorn. Britain’s King Edward II had a lot of things to deal with–a badass father who reigned forever, constant battles with the Scots, and a difficult relationship with his wife, who eventually overthrew him. Despite all that, he found the time and energy to devise a system of shoe sizes that is still used in Britain today. The size of a barleycorn had been used as a way to measure since the days of the Romans (ahh, the Romans again), so Edward came up with this: the diameter of one barleycorn equaled about 1/3 of an inch, so each barleycorn would be one shoe size, e.g. if your foot measured 24 barley corns, you would wear a size 8. Thank you, barleycorn!
  • Your foot gets two sizes bigger when you  stand up. Whoa, that’s a lot more barleycorn!

I hope you learned something today about feet that will help you win a trivia contest down at the pub. And of course, if  you have any other questions about or problems with your feet, contact us at The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine. Dr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, and Dr. Ryan Minara have helped thousands of people get back on their feet.




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.