The human foot is amazing. When we consider the role of the foot during gait it is remarkable that the foot can absorb shock, adapt to the surface we walk on, stabilise and support our body weight, as well as propel us forward! It can actually perform all of these tasks in only several hundredths of a second as well. Not amazed yet?
Each foot contains 26 bones, 33 joints and more than 100 muscles tendons and ligaments. It can withstand impact forces of more than 12 times body weight as in a gymnastic landing, or support over 300kg in weightlifting, or how about impacting the ground over 40,000 times in a marathon! On average a person will walk approximately 128,000kms in a lifetime – that’s more than three times around the earth.
Children’s feet will reach almost half their adult foot size by the age of only18 months. Children aged 12-30 months initially require changing a shoe size every two to three months but foot growth then slows over the subsequent four years. This equates to a change in shoe size every 4 months up to 4 years of age and then every 6 months from age 4 to 6 years.
Some research has shown that upon weightbearing our feet become 4% longer (or up to 8mm), 6% wider (or up to 6mm) and the arch height decreases by 20%. The total contact area of the foot also increases by up to 60% from 73 sq cm to 113 sq cm! No wonder you should try on new shoes when fully weightbearing.
The tallest ever man not surprisingly also had the world’s biggest feet measuring an incredible 47cm or 1 foot 5 inches long.
The feet have a very high sweat gland distribution with approximately 250,000 sweat glands in both feet. During exercise these can release up to 250mls of sweat – scary!
How is your balance? The world record for balancing on one foot has been recorded at 76 hoursr 40 minutes by Arulanantham Suresh Joachim from May 22-25 in 1997.
The world’s fastest man Usain Bolt can run 100m using only 41 steps with an average stride length of 2.44 metres per step. Usain averaged 4.28 steps per second in the 9.58 seconds it took him to run this distance.