Your feet are designed to support your entire body. They do so much for you every day, but most of us don’t know much about them. That’s why we created this list of fun foot facts for kids. There’s sure to be something here that will surprise you!
A Quarter of Your Bones Are in Your Feet
The human body is made up of 206 bones and 52 of these are found in your feet (26 in each foot). In addition to 26 bones, each foot also has 33 joints and over 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Babies’ foot bones keep developing until they become teenagers. This is one reason most young children look like they have flat feet – their feet are still very flexible. Their feet also have a fat pad in place of the arch in an adult’s foot.
Not All Toes Have the Same Number of Bones
Even though it’s called your “big” toe, it only has two bones while your other toes each have three bones. These bones are called phalanges (pronounced fuh-lan-jeez).
By the way, some people have more than five toes on each foot. This is called polydactylism (pronounced paul-ee-dack-tuh-lizz-umm).
Your Feet Have Around 8,000 Nerves
Did you ever wonder why feet are so ticklish? It’s because they have close to 8,000 nerves, with lots of nerve endings near the skin’s surface. These nerve endings are also why feet are often a good indicator of overall health.
People’s Feet Are Getting Bigger
The average American’s foot is two sizes bigger than it was 40 years ago. This is because people, in general, are bigger all the way around (literally). And, as people get bigger, their feet do, too. They have to or they couldn’t support that extra weight.
Toenails Grow More Slowly than Fingernails
Your toenails grow around 1 mm per month. Fingernails grow about three times as fast. That’s one reason toenails are thicker than fingernails, too. The cells have time to accumulate and thicken in a way that fingernails cannot.
Sweaty Feet Explained
Did you ever wonder why your feet sweat so much? It’s because each foot has over 250,000 sweat glands! And those sweat glands can produce a cup of moisture every day.
By the way, kids’ feet sweat more than twice as much as adult feet. And all that moisture is why their shoes tend to break down faster than adult shoes. That’s because moisture weakens the shoe structure. The problem is worse when kids wear the same pair of shoes every day. If your child only wears one pair of shoes, try giving your them a fresh pair socks during the day. This should help extend the life of the shoe.
Why Do Feet Stink?
So, you know why feet are so sweaty. Now, why do they sometimes stink? It turns out that bacteria love to make their home on warm, sweaty feet. Then they grow and grow into big neighborhoods (actually called bacteria colonies), where the bacteria live on the foot’s dead skin cells and oils. This kind of gross diet causes the bacteria to produce acids. And, as you can image, these acids don’t smell very good.
If you don’t want your feet to smell bad, make sure you always wear clean socks with your shoes. Oh, and wash your feet every day, including between your toes, making sure they’re totally dry before you put on your shoes and socks.
Quality Footwear as a Child Promotes Healthy Feet as an Adult
Wearing ill-fitting shoes make it more likely your kid will experience foot problems, pain, and even deformities as an adult. Poorly made shoes, or ones that don’t fit well, may also cause issues with walking, posture, back pain, and more.
The best shoe materials are natural ones, particularly leather and canvas. These are durable, flexible, and breathe well. They soften and stretch over time, too. You can find some synthetic materials that mimic these qualities, but avoid plastic for everyday wear. Plastic shoes don’t breathe and offer no flexibility, so your little one’s feet are prone to blisters. Plastic shoes aren’t bad for splashing around in the water, though.
Your First 3 Years Have the Fastest Foot Growth
If you ask a parent, they’ll tell you it seems like their kids need new shoes every other day. While that’s a bit of an exaggeration, children’s feet do grow incredibly fast, especially during the first few years. It breaks down like this:
- Birth to 12 months, kids’ feet go up five sizes
- From 12 to 24 months, kids’ feet go up two sizes
- From 24 to 36 months, kids gain another two shoe sizes
That means that kids’ feet go up nine sizes in their first three years alone. Once they hit 4 years old, their shoe size shouldn’t change more than once every 8 to 12 months. (Although growth spurts always seem to strike right after you buy new shoes.)
This is one reason it’s very important to get your child’s foot sized every time you buy shoes. When kids wear shoes that are too small, it can cause deformities that affect their foot health for the rest of their lives.
When It Comes to Foot Stress, Kids Beat Adults
The average kids’ foot takes on 3 times the amount of stress as an adult’s foot. That’s because kids are (1) more active than adults and (2) more likely to engage in high-impact activities.
Help protect your child’s feet against all that stress by giving them flexible, quality shoes that fit well and have a well-made foot bed, durable soles, and great shock absorption.
Foot Sole Facts
You may already know that the thickest skin on your body is found on the soles of your feet. But did you also know that there are more nerve endings and sweat glands per square centimeter on the sole of the foot than anywhere else on the body?
Your Feet Take You Around the World
If you walk around 8,000 steps a day and live an average lifespan, you’ll walk over 100,000 miles That’s enough to circle the globe four times!
Did we miss any fun foot facts? Let us know!
(This content on this page has been updated as of March 2020)