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Oh, Your Aching Feet

April 26, 1999

To borrow from that Nancy Sinatra song from the '60s, these feet were made for walkin', and that's just what we do--to the tune of 75,000 miles by middle age. The California Podiatric Medical Assn. and the American Podiatric Medical Assn. say that's the mileage we put in from daily work and leisure activities. In a lifetime, they say, we rack up 115,000 miles.

In doing so, many people can be put at greater risk for developing debilitating foot and ankle conditions, the associations say. A "75,000-mile checkup" on the feet with a foot specialist is suggested.

Here are other facts about feet and related ailments:

* At 75,000 miles, there is an 80% chance that within the next 10 years a person may develop arthritis in the foot and ankle joints.

* Toe and joint deformities: At the 75,000-mile mark or by age 44, whichever a person reaches first, the possibility of developing deformities, such as hammertoes, increases by 100%. The risk of developing a bunion between ages 44 and 65 increases by 80%. After 65, the risk increases to more than 200%.

* At the 75,000-mile mark, a person can lose up to 50% of the shock-absorbing capability of the natural foot padding under the ball of the foot.

Source: The California Podiatric Medical Assn., the American Podiatric Medical Assn.

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