by Dan Shulters
I have written about our feet and their needs, I have written about the types of good shoes, why it is worth the extra money to buy custom handmade shoes, and conducted two basic shoe repair courses. This month I am going to take it easy, and just share some interesting (interesting to me, anyway) foot and shoe facts. (Past articles available at http://ashland.oregon.localsguide.com)
1) 3 out of 4 Americans experience serious foot problems in their lifetime.
2) As I wrote about earlier, the foot contains 26 bones. What I haven’t told you yet, is there are also 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles. A foot is more than just a foot.
3) ¼ of all the bones in the body are down in our feet. When these bones are out of alignment, so is the rest of the body.
4) Only a small part of the population is born with foot problems. It is neglect and a lack of awareness of proper care – including ill fitting shoes – that brings on problems.
5) Women have about four times as many foot problems as men.
6) 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-around well being.
7) Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in their feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.
8) About 60-70% of people with diabetes have mild to severe forms of diabetic nerve damage, which in severe forms can lead to lower limb amputations. Approximately 86,000 people a year lose their foot or leg to diabetes.
9) There are 250,000 sweat glands in a pair of feet. Sweat glands in the feet excrete as much as a half-pint of moisture a day. This is why cedar shoe trees are so important. They help dry the shoes from the inside out.
10) The average person takes 8,000 to 10,000 steps a day, which adds up to about 115,000 miles over a lifetime. That’s enough to go around the circumference of the Earth four times.
11) There are 1.2 billion pairs of shoes sold in the U.S. each year by approximately 200,000 shoe sales people employed in more than 50,000 shoe stores and departments. However, estimates reflect only 25% of consumers can actually remember the last time they had their feet measured.
Hopefully these facts help you understand why to buy quality well fitting shoes and to take care of them. Remember, if you care about your teeth or what you eat, you should care about your feet.
Dan has been in and around shoe repair and retail shoes for over 40 years. His parent owned both a shoe repair/retail shoe store and operated a licensed vocational school teaching shoe repair. The Shulters family has been repairing shoes since 1947.