When asked to rank the body parts most important to health and well-being, Americans recognized the importance of their heart, eyesight, teeth and skin but ranked foot health at the very bottom of the list, according to a 2010 Public Opinion Research on Foot Health and Care survey conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association. Despite the fact that most people have experienced at least one significant foot problem and 50% suffer from periodic or chronic foot pain, the majority of Americans take a laissez-faire attitude toward foot health, consulting a physician only when a foot problem impacts their lifestyle by interfering with walking or causing severe pain.
A Bigger Problem
Regular foot pain does not merely impact comfort while walking, exercising or standing for prolonged periods; it can be a symptom of more serious health problems that can limit your ability to live independently. People who experience chronic foot pain are two to three times more likely to also suffer from weight issues, back pain, joint pain, knee pain, circulatory disorders, and/or heart issues and are at greater risk of developing arthritis, nerve disorders, diabetes, and heart disease.
The most common foot complaints are:
1. Nail problems
2. Sweaty feet or foot odor
3. Pain in the ball of the foot
4. Heel pain or plantar fasciitis
Despite potential health risks, only 26% of Americans are diligent about foot care. Podiatrists caution that pain and growths on the foot are not normal and should be reported to your doctor. Regular foot inspections are also recommended to help prevent the development of foot problems.