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May 23

APMA Staff

Why Your Feet Matter

by APMA Staff

Why Your Feet Matter

What does each part of your foot actually do?

Feet frequently bear the burden of a bad reputation. Stuffed in socks and crammed in shoes, they live a lonely existence. Gangly toes and flat soles stay hidden from the world, only seeing daylight during the warmer months when sandals become an option.

However, despite this unfortunate reputation, we all know that feet are important. This becomes more evident when even the slightest of foot injuries hinders movement and prevents you from enjoying your favorite hobbies.

But do you know what each part of the foot does?  Why do we have heels? Does the pinky toe serve a purpose? Why is the big toe so big?

In this blog, we’ve answered these questions and more.

1.Toes Are Totally Awesome

Snow White had seven dwarves to support her. Most of us have ten little helpers that do the same thing, albeit in a more literal way.

Who are we talking about? Why, your toes of course! Without toes, we humans would find it difficult to walk. Indeed, we might be more likely to fall flat on our faces without our foot fingers. Why?

Because toes keep us balanced. Think of them as flexible adapters, able to move as needed to balance out the weight our feet bear. Toes cover a wide surface area and allow our feet to better support our bodies. This is especially true as we run, when the toes stretch out and allow us to lengthen our stride.

Big toes are big because they have to be. When you stand, most of the weight is concentrated on your big toes. These guys are strong: they can carry about twice as much weight as your other podiatric appendages.

But what about the pinky toe? What part does it have to play? Not much of one. Dr. Anne Holly Johnson, orthopedic surgery instructor at Harvard Medical School, notes that “if you're born without a pinky toe or have an accident and it's removed, you can completely do everything you wanted to do.” 

They’re still cute though!

2. If It Were a Wrestler, Your Heel Wouldn’t Be a Heel

In professional wrestling, the “heel” is the object of the audience’s scorn. The villain that everyone loves to hate. However, in real life, the heel is a perfectly benevolent part of the foot. Walking wouldn’t be the same without it!

If you were a fancy car, your heel would be the state-of-the-art brake that keeps you from colliding into traffic. It acts as the main point of support for your foot in conjunction with the ball of your foot. This is why walking on your tiptoes is so tiring—without the heel to support the brunt of the weight, the other parts of your foot have to work overtime.

3. Toenails Never Fail

Toenails are the prettiest part of the foot. A thin coat of nail polish brings them to life and makse a beautiful fashion statement.

But it goes without saying that they must have a purpose beyond getting dolled up, right? Not really.

Although the reason we originally developed nails (of both the toe and finger variety) is up for debate, two main theories have emerged: supporting broad fingertips and being left over from claws we lost as we evolved. Now, nails are mostly vestigial in nature. They’re like pinky toes in that they no longer have a clear and visible purpose.

However, taking a gander at your toenails can still be a great indicator of your overall health. If you notice cloudiness or markings that weren’t there before, contact your doctor!

Is part of your foot acting up? Visit our clinic in Edmonds, WA

The trained specialists at Ankle & Foot of Edmonds can answer all of your questions. Call 425-775-6996, or complete our online form to set up an appointment.


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