The structure of the human foot, bone for bone and joint for joint, is very similar to the human hand. But there the resemblance ends. We cannot possibly do the same things with the feet as with the hands, or vice versa. For example, we cannot grasp objects or play the piano with our toes, neither can the hands bear the weight of the body for more than a few minutes. We marvel at the weightlifter who is able to use his hands to lift several times his own body weight above his head for a few seconds. We forget that the same man’s feet have to carry the same amount of weight plus the weight of his body. Moreover the feet – which are constructed in the same way as the hand – must carry the body weight all day and every day.
The hand is n show; gloves are worn only for protection against hard work or weather. The foot is usually hidden; coverings of socks, stockings and shoe prevent exposure. The hand is free to move in any direction; the foot is cramped in its containers. Rings are worn to accentuate the delicate appearance of the female hand; the foot is often considered to be unattractive, dirty and smelly. Consequently, more concern is given to the shoe that covers the foot than to the foot inside the shoe. Far too many people, particularly young women, buy shoes primarily to be ‘in fashion’ and do not worry about whether they actually fit. It is inevitable that such people will be afflicted later on by a number of unnecessary and often uncomfortable troubles in their feet. These may have nothing to do with rheumatism, but if rheumatism or arthritis does develop in the feet, it is not just a question of discomfort but of serious, painful and crippling deformity. The possibility should never be dismissed as unlikely. After all, there are over twenty joints in each foot and any one, or all of them, can be affected by arthritis.
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