75% of American Adults Have Foot Problems and Ignore Them

BY Rachel Cagle
Featured image for “75% of American Adults Have Foot Problems and Ignore Them”

"Most women get their teeth cleaned at least once a year, keep tabs on their heart, and may even have an annual eye exam. While they might clip and paint their toenails on a regular basis, women often neglect the health of their feet”, says Harvard Health Publishing."

"That lack of attention can lead to pain and other foot problems, which are common and, for some people, life-altering."

"Over time, natural changes in your feet can make it more likely that you will experience pain. In your 30s, the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in your foot may start to weaken or lose resilience.” 

As You Age

In your 40s 

At this age, many people start to experience pain and problems caused by the weakening of foot structures that began in their 30s. Many start to notice their feet are sore at the end of a long day and often experience foot problems. 

Common foot problems include bunions caused by a misalignment of the foot bone that causes a bony bump to jut out at the base of your big toe, hammertoes, toes that permanently curl downward, and nail fungus.

In your 50s and beyond 

When you reach 50 onward, the fat pads in the bottom of your feet become thinner. A loss of estrogen after menopause may lead to lower bone density in the feet and, consequently, a higher risk of stress fractures in the foot. 

People in this age group are also more prone to calluses and corns. Foot problems related to chronic conditions are also more common in this age group.

The Survey

A 2018 survey of nearly 1,300 adults conducted by the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) found that as many as 75% of those surveyed had some issue with their feet, ranging from troublesome (such as excess sweating, odor, or nail problems) to the painful (such as bunions or stress fractures). 

Half of those surveyed said they have common foot problems that are severe enough to limit their activities in some way.

Steps to Protect Your Feet

Taking some simple steps to protect your feet can help you avoid pain and other problems

  • Pay Attention to Your Footwear

Many instances of foot pain are caused by shoes that are too pointy, too tight, or too high in the heel. Look for shoes that fit well, provide enough cushioning, and are comfortable. Also, don't wear the same shoes every day. As for high heels, you may want to rethink them. In other words, find the right shoes for your foot problems.

  • Give Your Feet a Good Soak

Keeping feet clean and soaking them reduces problems caused by harmful bacteria and can ward off fungal infections such as athlete's foot. If you have shoes rubbing your feet the wrong way, a good foot bath can soften calloused skin and help keep feet smooth. 

Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after washing, especially between your toes. Bacteria and fungi can thrive in a wet environment.

  • Don't Forget to Exercise

You can prevent problems in your feet by doing exercises that stretch and strengthen your feet.

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight 

Weight gain and foot pain are often linked. In the APMA survey, 74% of individuals who were overweight and 81% of people with obesity reported foot problems. People with obesity were more likely to experience heel pain and plantar fasciitis (inflammation of a band of tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot). 

Their feet were also more likely to have tendinitis (inflammation of the tendons), bone spurs (abnormal bony growths), and stress fractures (cracks in the bones caused by repetitive pressure).

  • Moisturize and Soften

Smoothing skin with lotion or a podiatric cream keeps your feet moisturized and keeps skin from drying and cracking. But avoid the area between your toes, where moisture can collect and cause a foot problem.

  • Pay a Visit to the Pros 

An occasional pedicure can help keep feet in top shape, particularly if you have trouble reaching your feet — for instance, if you are older or pregnant. But be sure to pick a nail salon that is clean and follows stringent sterilization practices to avoid infection, or the service could end up doing more harm than good.

  • Seek Out an Expert

If you are experiencing foot pain that is persistent or severe, it's best not to try to treat it yourself. Instead, turn to an expert such as a podiatrist, orthopedist, or physical therapist to diagnose and treat the problem. You should not tolerate the pain that affects your daily life. If you've given up your daily walk because your foot hurts, it's time to see a doctor.

  • Consider Surgery

If your feet hurt because of more serious foot problems like bunions, consider a surgical solution to relieve the pain.

Finding Answers in the Internet

When foot doctor patients start experiencing problems in their feet, they may turn to the internet for answers. According to AudienceSCAN, within the last 30 days, 53.8% of this audience used the internet to research health and medical information. Moreover, 64.4% used a search engine to research a product they were considering.

The health and wellness sections of blogs, magazines, and newspapers are also the favorite sections of 29.6% of this audience. They can find potential solutions to their foot problems through advertising in these media formats. 

Last year, these consumers were driven to action by email ads (54.7%), ads in both online and print newspapers (52.1%). Also in magazines (45.3%). Additionally, ads on daily deals websites such as Groupon (44.1%) and 37.7% clicked on text link ads on websites.

Wrapping Up

AudienceSCAN data is available for your applications and dashboards through the SalesFuel API. In addition, AdMall contains industry profiles on specialty hospitals and orthopedic doctors, as well as lead lists at the local level. Media companies, sales reps, and agencies can access this data with a subscription to AdMall from SalesFuel.