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What is Podiatry?

Podiatry is that profession of health sciences concerned with the research, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of deformities, pathologies, and injuries of the foot and associated structures – in relation with the body as well as the manifestations of systemic diseases – by all appropriate systems and technologies using scientific and professional specialised knowledge. *


Facts and Figures

  • Podiatrists were originally called “chiropodists” and the first school to train them opened in New York in 1911.

  • Archaeologists have discovered evidence of foot doctors in Greek ruins and ancient Egyptian tombs.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte, Abraham Lincoln, and other notable historical figures have written about the care they received from special foot doctors.

  • Two feet have around 250,000 sweat glands.

  • Each foot has 26 bones – both feet contain nearly one-quarter of all the bones (206) of the body.

  • Each foot is made up of an intricate network of over 100 tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

  • Every step place 1.5 times your body weight of pressure on your foot (a 150-pound person places 225 pounds of pressure on the foot with every step).

  • The average person walks 5,000 to 7,000 steps a day. 

  • The American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) estimates that the average person will walk nearly 100,000 miles in a lifetime, between three to four times the earth’s circumference.

  • A 2½-inch high heel can increase the load on the forefoot by 75%.

  • 75% of people will experience foot problems at one time or another in their lives.

  • 25% of the UK population have flat feet.

  • More than half the women in the UK have bunions.

  • It takes at least 5-6 months to grow an entirely new toenail.

  • 33 joints make up each foot.

  • Your feet mirror your general health. Conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, nerve, and circulatory disorders can show their initial symptoms in the feet – so foot ailments can be your first sign of more serious medical problems.

  • So-called “flat feet” is the most common problem perceived — about five times more common than high arch feet.


  • When buying shoes, it is always a good idea to buy them late in the day, when your feet are tired and may be slightly swollen. In this way, you are unlikely to buy shoes that are too small.

  • Corns and calluses are never normal, but they are the most common foot problems. They indicate that you could benefit from foot alignment or from a better choice of shoes. The next most common foot problems are warts, blisters, athlete’s foot, and fissures.

  • Women have about four times as many foot problems as men. High heels are partly to blame.

*Definition agreed by the Annual General Meeting of the International Federation Of Podiatrists, 19 May 2018

Footstep test. Podiatrist clinic.jpg

The Definition of Podiatry

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