Feet are seriously one of our most useful non-vital body parts. They allow us to stand, walk and run. They provide a lot of incredible benefits. There are a number of people who are incredibly grossed out by feet, but even they would not want to part with one.
The anatomy of the foot is interesting as the different parts work together to provide both similar and unique functions. If we oversimplify the foot, we can group it into four main parts; the toes, arch, heel, and ankle. Ever wonder why your foot was designed the way it is?
Toes. Everyone else’s toes are gross it seems. Many people don’t even like their own. Toes provide essential balance function to the body. They allow us to distribute our weight evenly. Toes also enable us to run effectively by lengthening our foot and therefore our stride as well. Humans cannot run faster than most animals, but funnily enough, humans can outlast almost any animal in a distance run. This is in part due to the longer stride.
Have you ever stubbed your toe? That will make you wish you didn’t have toes for a few minutes. Because toes are so small, they are easy to hurt and to break.
Another downside is their utility. Many mammals can use their feet and toes to grab things. Have you ever tried to grab something with your toes? It might kind of work, depending on what you are trying to do. Most of the time you just look weird.
Your foot is actually made up of three arches; the medial, lateral, and anterior traverse arch. The arches work together to provide flexibility and locomotion. Part of the reason you are able to walk and run is the flexibility the arches provide. Arches function as the shock absorbers in the body. You know those funny springs that are by your tires? They allow the frame of the car to bounce when a bump is hit instead of just slamming into the tires and ground. Your arches function like that. When weight comes down, your foot flattens and then returns to an arch shape when weight is released.
The arch can bear a lot of weight, but when it is hurt you will feel it. It could be something as simple as soreness from standing too long, or poor shoes causing the arch to flatten out a little. These small things can have a massive effect over time. If you have these issues or other foot problems, you need to see a doctor. There are lots of available treatments, just make the call!
The heel is the super tough back of your foot. It helps provide support for when you are standing up. It carries the bulk of the weight when you are standing, hence the tough, thick skin. The heel also works really well if you have to try and kick ice out of your tire wells.
Thick skin means deep pain. When the heel hurts, it really hurts. Plantar fasciitis is a common malady of the foot. It is essentially inflammation of the tissue on the bottom of your foot. It specifically causes pain by the heel. While very treatable, this can become worse with time and cause damage to your heel.
The ankle is made up of the tibia, fibula, and the talus. It is the jack of all trades in the foot. It even supports body weight, assists with movement, increases agility and flexibility and allows for just about any other physical movement involving the feet.
Ankles can easily be twisted and sprained. Ankle injuries can include injuries to the Achilles tendon, which almost always requires surgery. That bone that protrudes on your ankle? It is the bottom of the fibula, and when hit it is sure to drop you to the ground.
The foot serves many incredible and necessary functions. Our feet allow us to do so much. All they really need to be healthy is shoes and daily washing. It really is a great deal. The downsides listed are mostly facetious (jury is still out on the stubbed toe), as the occasional discomfort is well worth having an incredibly versatile and functional base for your body.