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Lateral view
The foot is a biological structure found in many animals that is used for moving. The analagous structure in certain animals is the hoof or paw.


Bones of the foot


The major bones in the foot are:


Phalanges: The bones in the toes are called phalanges.


Metatarsals: The bones in the middle of the foot are called metatarsal bones.


Cuneiforms: There are three bones in the middle of the foot, towards the center of the body called cuneiforms.


Cuboid: The bone sitting adjacent to the cuneiforms on the outside of the foot is called the cuboid.


Navicular: This bone sits behind the cuneiforms.


Talus: Also called the ankle bone, the talus sits directly behind the navicular.


Calcaneus: Also called the heel bone, the calcaneus sits under the talus and behind the cuboid.


Footwear customs


Customs about footwear while indoors vary significantly from place to place and usually depend on climate, weather, and other factors:

It is customary to remove one's footwear when entering a home:


§          in much of Europe and Canada, and in many homes in New Zealand and Australia.

§          in some homes in the United Kingdom

§          in much of the United States

§          in Korea and Japan; the custom is so widespread that floors are often made of materials that are too soft to survive being walked on with shoes.


Top view In some cultures, bare feet may be considered unsightly or offensive. In Arab countries and in Thailand, it is considered extremely offensive to show someone the sole of your foot, although the practice of going barefoot is common, due to various reasons including hot climate and tradition.


Regardless of covering, according to Thai norms feet are the least respected parts of the body; they should not be in a higher position than someone's head and should not face someone or an image of Buddha.


The feet are one of the most common places to be tickled on the human body. The soles generally tend to be sensitive to tickling.


Customary measurement


One way to measure short distances on the ground is by placing one foot directly in front of the other; this led to the adoption of the foot as a unit of length, even though not all human feet correspond to this measure.




Male and femaleIt is a myth that the Imperial "foot" (304.8 mm) is about the length of the average European male foot. The average today is less than 270 mm and 90% of the population is within 20 mm of that. Very few men today have feet that are a "foot" long: most are more than 35 mm shorter. In the past, the average length would have been less. Even the overall length of most shoes remains well short of one "foot". Tradition has it that the Imperial foot was based upon the size of Hercules' foot.


Medical aspects


Due to their position and function, feet are exposed to a variety of potential infections and injuries, including athlete's foot, bunions, ingrown toenails, Morton's neuroma, plantar fasciitis, plantar warts and stress fractures. In addition, there are several genetic conditions that can affect the shape and function of the feet, including a club foot or flat feet.


A doctor who specializes in the treatment of the feet practices podiatry and is called a podiatrist. A pedorthist specializes in the use and modification of footwear to treat problems related to the lower limbs.


Reflexology is an alternative therapy which involves the stimulation of the nerves and skin of the feet to improve a person's health.

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