Definition of Foot

Foot: The end of the leg on which a person normally stands and walks. The foot is an extremely complex anatomic structure made up of 26 bones and 33 joints that must work together with 19 muscles and 107 ligaments to execute highly precise movements. At the same time the foot must be strong to support more than 100,000 pounds of pressure for every mile walked. Even small changes in the foot can unexpectedly undermine its structural integrity and cause pain with every step.

Foot function has been in conflict with fashion for many years. In China, girls once had their feet bound to shorten them by bending the toes backward. Nowadays, high heels can and often do cause foot problems as well as knee, hip, and back pain. Too narrow shoes make the big toe bend outward, forming a bunion or swollen big-toe joint. Some shoes scrunch up the smaller toes, causing claw or hammer toes with painful corns or calluses on the tops of these toes. Shoes, first and foremost, should fit the feet.

Cosmetic surgery on the feet done purely to permit the person to wear fashionable shoes runs a serious risk of producing more harm than good. The American Orthopaedic Foot and Ankle Society advises against cosmetic surgery on the feet.

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgery notes; "Surgery performed solely for the purpose of improving the appearance or size of the foot or ankle carries risks without medical benefit, and therefore should not be undertaken." The foot as a measure of length is 12 inches or a third of a yard or, metrically, 30.48 centimeters. The abbreviation for foot is ft.


Last Editorial Review: 10/30/2013

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