Survey reveals widespread foot pain across the U.S.


Americans' feet hurt, according to the National Foot Health Assessment 2012, and it's not just the old ladies whose dogs are barking. The survey, which was conducted for the Institute for Preventive Foot Health by research organization NPD Group, included responses from 1,456 individuals aged 21 and older, and the results showed that 78 percent had experienced some type of foot pain.

Most commonly, respondents reported blisters, calluses, foot fatigue, cracked skin, athlete's foot and ankle sprains. But that's just scratching the surface of the foot problems that plague Americans.

There are many forms and causes of foot pain

Age and activity appear to be the main factors that contribute to podiatric conditions, but gender also seems to play a role because women experience foot problems more frequently than men.

More specifically, it looks like ladies are more likely than dudes to develop fallen arches, calluses, ingrown toenails, corns and foot fatigue. This is probably because women tend to jam their feet into shoes with narrow toe beds and high heels, which can do some serious damage to the feet over time.

It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that older people have more issues than those in their 20s and 30s. In older individuals, foot conditions are more than just painful or unsightly, as they can also impair a senior's mobility and quality of life.

It may seem obvious that people who jog, run, hike and play other intensive sports experience foot pain more often than their lazier counterparts, but about 46 percent of respondents said that they feel discomfort doing even simple things like shopping.

For many, the solution may be weight loss

Perhaps the fact that Americans are feeling fatigued even when running everyday errands is the sign of an even bigger (no pun intended) problem: excess weight and obesity. That's right, kids, it looks like super-sized helpings have put a serious burden on foot health in the U.S.

According to the survey authors, people with a BMI of 30 or higher – which is classified as obese – were 51 percent more likely than people with a lower body weight to say their foot health was fair or poor, and 41 percent more liable to develop serious foot problems. Also, these respondents tended to engage in less physical activity that people with lower BMIs.