26 bones, 33 joints…
Foot injury and pain happen frequently. It is estimated that some 75% of the population have some sort of foot problem. The structure of the foot is complex, with 26 small bones and 33 joints held together by a lattice of muscle and nerves. Every step applies a force of 2 to 3 times the weight of the body to the feet and ankles. On average we take around 8,000 steps per day, so inevitably we all have foot problems from time to time.
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Factors affecting foot injury
Age: The ageing foot becomes broader and the cushioning under the heel and ball of the foot becomes thinner. The skin becomes dryer. Other problems, such as arthritis, diabetes and circulation frequently affect the elderly.
Gender: Women run a higher risk of foot complaints, especially from wearing tight shoes and high heels. These can cause serious problems, particularly in later life.
Occupation: People who have to stand all day because of their jobs can overload their feet and may also suffer from pain in legs, knees and backs.
Pregnancy: Problems often arise during pregnancy because of the increase in weight causing the swelling of feet and ankles. There can also be an increase in certain hormone levels, causing reduction of muscle tone.
Sports/Running/Dancing: pain in the heel and the shins is particularly prevalent in sport, jogging or dancing.
Weight: People who are too heavy overload their feet and ankles, leading inevitably to pain in the feet and ankles.
Over-pronation: An inward tilt of the ankle and sagging of the foot arch play an important role in the onset of foot problems.