Test Your Foot IQ: 7 Weird and Wonderful Facts About Your Feet
How much do you know about your feet? Take this true-or-false quiz and find out. (Answers below).
- A single foot has more than 25 bones. True or False?
- Fingernails and toenails grow at the same rate. True or False?
- A typical adult foot produces about half a pint of sweat a day. True or False?
- A 2 ½-inch heel increases the load on the front of your foot by 50%. True or False?
- Shoes have been around for more than 5,000 years. True or False?
- The average person will walk more than 100,000 miles in a lifetime. True or False?
- Shoe sizes are based on the metric system. True or False?
- True! A typical adult foot contains 26 bones or 28 if you include the sesamoid bones, and in fact, together your two feet account for a quarter of all the bones in your body. In addition to all those bones, a single foot has 33 joints, more than 100 tendons, ligaments and muscles, and more than 7,000 nerve endings.
- False! Toenails grow much more slowly than fingernails—only about a millimeter a month, though all nails grow faster in hot weather and during pregnancy. For what it’s worth, the Guinness Book of World Records says that the largest collection of toenail clippings, consisting of samples from 25,000 individuals, is in Canada, collected as part of a broad cancer study. Your toenails do indeed hold many clues to your overall wellbeing: your podiatrist can learn a lot about everything from your heart health to possible fungal infections just by looking at your toenails.
- True! And no wonder—each of your feet has about 250,000 sweat glands, more sweat glands per square inch than any other part of the body. Foot sweat gets a bad rap: it’s not the sweat itself that gives off that distinctive locker room funk, but sweaty socks and shoes which are ideal environments for odor-producing bacteria. It’s not all bad though: every year kids and teenagers from around the country enter their worst smelling
shoes in the annual Rotten Sneaker Contest for a grand prize of $2,500.
- False! A 2½-inch high heel—considered a “mid-heel” in the fashion industry– can increase the load on your toes and the ball of your foot by a whopping 75%! Over time wearing high-heeled shoes can lead to, among other things, hammertoes, bunions, corns, calluses and can cause thinning of the cushioning fat pad at the bottom of your foot. No wonder 75% of Americans will experience some kind of foot problem at one time or another in their lives!
- True! It’s likely that our Ice Age ancestors wrapped animal skins around their feet to protect them, but the oldest known shoe that looks anything like a modern shoe is about 5,500 years old. Other shoe milestones: ancient Romans invent left and right shoes (before then it was one-shape-fits-all); in the 18th century Europe men’s and women’s shoes (finally!) begin to look different from each other; in the 1860s the rubber-soled sneaker is invented to prevent croquet players from getting grass stains on their good shoes. Want to know more? Toronto, Canada is home to the 13,000-piece Bata Shoe Museum, the only North American museum dedicated solely to footwear.
- True! The average person will walk around 115,000 miles in a lifetime, the equivalent of four trips around the earth.
- False! You have England’s King Edward II to thank for your shoe size—in the 1300s he established the barleycorn (equivalent to one-third of an inch) as the basic unit of measurement. The barleycorn lives on in the increments on the foot measuring tools used in shoe stores today.
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