Foot vs. Feet — What’s The Difference?
Though in English we usually add the letter S to make words plural, in the case of foot, we don’t say “foots” — we say “feet.”
So, foot is singular and feet is plural.
That might be all you need to know, but if you’d like more information, keep reading. In this article, I’ll go more in-depth, providing definitions and examples — and I’ll explain why we don’t say “foots.”
The Definitions of Foot
Need a definition? I got you.
Foot has a few predominant meanings:
- A body part 👣 The foot is the body part at the bottom of the leg. It most commonly has ten toes and sometimes we put shoes on it.
- A measurement 📏 The word foot is also a unit of measurement in the imperial system, equalling twelve inches. There are three feet in one yard.
- The bottom or end of something ⬇️ Probably because we think of human feet as being at the end of our bodies, we’ve extended this meaning to non-human things. For example, “the foot of the mountain” is the base or bottom. Notes at the end of a page are called “footnotes.”
There are various other uses for this word, but these are the most common.
(As a Shakespearean, I feel obligated to mention that a “foot” is also a term used in poetry. It refers to a group of syllables, but that’s a pretty niche usage—perhaps a topic for another day!)
One Foot, Two Feet — Foot is Singular, Feet is Plural
Feet is simply the plural form of foot — for both meanings. So if you’re talking about only one, you say “foot.” If more than one, “feet.”
If you’re interested, you can read why below. But first, some examples!
Some Examples of Foot and Feet
First, let’s look at foot when it means a body part. Imagine a young couple is taking dance lessons:
“You stepped on my left foot,” one says. (singular)
“Well, you stepped on both of my feet,” the other retorts. (plural)
“You stepped on everyone’s feet!” the instructor chimes in. (plural)
And now, foot as a measurement:
Without glasses, Grandma can hardly see anything more than a foot from her face.
The pole is ten feet long.
As you can see, foot always becomes feet, whatever the meaning. Although…
Singular Foot in Compound Adjectives
While we never say “foots,” we do sometimes use the singular foot even when we’re talking about more than one. We do this when it’s part of a compound adjective describing a noun.
- a thirty-foot boat
- an eight-foot couch
- a hundred-foot building
In one of the earlier examples, we said “The pole is ten feet long.” We could also say:
It’s a ten-foot pole.
Similarly, we would say “a hundred-dollar watch” or “a four-layer cake,” not “a hundred-dollars watch” or “four-layers cake.”
Now You Have Your Footing
And that’s pretty much it!
Feet is the plural form of foot, and we use the singular form in compound adjectives—as in a phrase like “twenty-foot crocodile.”
Have more questions about the many confusing words in English? Check out our other articles, and tread the path of writing confidently.
Footnote: Why Don’t We Say Foots?
English has one dominant method of forming plurals: usually, we add -s to make something plural. But like many languages, English has a few other ways of forming plurals in addition to the predominant one.
Old English, the ancestor of modern English spoken about a thousand years ago, was much like its Germanic cousins in that it had lots of ways of making plurals. Adding -s was just one of them.
Sometimes the vowels in the word would shift (like tooth → teeth). Sometimes, different endings were added (like child → children). Yet as the language evolved, adding -s to make a word plural became more and more common, supplanting other methods — but a few stubborn words just stayed (more or less) the way they were.
Foot is one of those words — and it’s been pretty much the same for over a thousand years!
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10 Common Foot Problems and How to Manage Them
Your feet take a pounding every day. Help them go the distance by identifying and correcting issues ranging from corns and calluses to athlete’s foot and hammertoes.
By Brian P. DunleavyMedically Reviewed by Justin Laube, MD
Take good care of your feet, and they’ll take good care of you.
French Anderson Ltd/Stocksy
The human foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, and more than 100 muscles, ligaments, and tendons made of strong fibrous tissues to keep all the moving parts together — not to mention more sweat glands than any other part of the body.
Indeed, the foot is an evolutionary marvel, capable of handling hundreds of tons of force — your weight in motion — every day. The foot’s myriad parts, including the toes, heel, and ball, work together to get you from one place to another.
But the stress of carrying you around puts your feet at high risk of injury, higher than any other body part. And many foot problems, including hammertoes, blisters, bunions, corns and calluses, claw and mallet toes, ingrown toenails, toenail fungus, and athlete’s foot, can develop from neglect, ill-fitting shoes, and simple wear and tear.
Pain in your feet may even be the first sign of a systemic problem. Gout, for example, often affects the foot joints first.
So what can you do to identify and manage some common foot-health issues?
Caused by a fungus that likes warm, dark, moist environments, athlete’s foot commonly affects the areas between the toes and the bottoms of the feet. It can inflame the skin and cause a white, scaly rash with a red base. Other symptoms of athlete’s foot include itching, burning, peeling, and sometimes a slight odor.
You can lower your risk of athlete’s foot (also called tinea pedis) by keeping your feet and toes clean and dry, changing your shoes and socks regularly, and never walking barefoot in public locker rooms and showers. Over-the-counter antifungal creams or sprays can be used to treat athlete’s foot, and sprays and powders can also be used inside your shoes to destroy any lingering fungus, according to Penn Medicine.
If these remedies do not work, you may need to see a doctor and ask about prescription-strength medication. It’s also worth knowing that the infection can migrate to other parts of the body if left untreated, Penn Medicine says. It can also be transmitted to other people via shared floors, gym mats, towels, and other surfaces.
If your second, third, or fourth toe is crossed, bent in the middle of the toe joint, or just pointing at an odd angle, you may have what’s called a hammertoe. Ill-fitting shoes contribute to the formation of hammertoes.
If your toe is still flexible, your doctor may suggest that you wear roomier, more comfortable footwear. In addition, wearing inserts or foot pads can help reposition your toe.
But if your toe becomes fixed in the bent position, pain will set in and you may need surgery, according to the Mayo Clinic. When hammertoes press against the insides of your shoes, corns and calluses may form on them.
“Most blisters are caused by friction between the skin on the foot and the inside of your shoes,” says Allan M. Boike, a podiatrist at the Cleveland Clinic and the dean of the College of Podiatric Medicine at Kent State University in Ohio.
You can prevent blisters — soft pockets of raised skin filled with clear fluid — on your feet by wearing comfortable, appropriate-size shoes and socks. If blisters do develop, it’s best to let them break naturally rather than burst them on your own, even when they are painful and make walking difficult, Dr. Boike says.
“If you develop a blister, simply cover it with a bandage and allow it to burst naturally,” Boike says. “If it bursts, you can apply an over-the-counter antibiotic ointment with a bandage to help it heal and prevent infection, but you should keep the area covered to reduce friction and keep it from reforming.”
Most foot blisters don’t require medical attention. But if you have diabetes or another health condition that makes you prone to infections, you should consult a physician before treating any blisters yourself, Boike advises.
A bunion is a bony bump at the base of the big-toe joint. The changes within the foot that cause the bump also cause the big toe to turn inward, toward the smaller toes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Bunions can result from congenital deformities, arthritis, trauma, heredity, or habitually wearing shoes that are too narrow in the toe. Regardless of what caused them in the first place, bunions can be made worse by high heels and constrictive shoes.
Conservative treatment for bunions includes wider shoes, padded shoe inserts, and over-the-counter pain relievers. If those methods fail to relieve pain and allow for normal walking, the Mayo Clinic says, surgery may be recommended to return the big toe to its normal position.
Corns and Calluses
Corns and calluses form after repeated rubbing against a bony area of the foot, usually by shoes that don’t fit well, the Cleveland Clinic says.
Corns can appear on the tops and sides of your toes as well as between your toes, while calluses tend to form on the bottoms of the feet, especially under the heels or balls of the feet, and on the sides of the toes. These compressed patches of dead skin cells can be hard and painful to walk on.
With many corns or calluses, you can treat them yourself by removing the buildup of skin. The Cleveland Clinic recommends soaking the affected area in warm water until the skin softens and using a wet pumice stone or emery board to remove the dead skin. Be gentle, though: Removing too much skin can cause bleeding and infection. You can also apply a moisturizing cream or lotion to the corn or callus and surrounding dead skin to soften the skin over time.
If this doesn’t work, you may need to consult a podiatrist, who may recommend placing moleskin or padding around corns and calluses to relieve pain.
Plantar fasciitis is a painful disorder in which the ligament — the fascia — that connects the ball of the foot to the heel becomes inflamed or even torn. Plantar fasciitis has no visual signs or symptoms, just pain and stiffness in the foot, says Tracey C. Vlahovic, a podiatrist and a clinical professor at the Temple University School of Podiatric Medicine in Philadelphia.
Research suggests the condition is common among runners and other athletes of all levels, but it’s generally seen as an overuse injury for which nearly everyone is at risk, Vlahovic notes.
“Most of the time, we’ll refer people to physical therapy, where they can learn stretches to reduce the tightness in the medial band of the foot,” Boike says. Fewer than 10 percent of the people with plantar fasciitis Boike sees require surgery to treat the condition.
Applying a cold compress can help relieve the pain. Your podiatrist may also recommend that you wear a splint at night to stretch the affected foot, Boike says.
Claw Toes and Mallet Toes
A claw toe curls upward at the joint where the toes and the foot meet and downward at the middle and end joints of the toe, making the toe look curved, or clawlike.
Claw toes often develop calluses and corns where they rub against shoes. While tight shoes can be blamed for claw toes, so can nerve damage to the feet (from diabetes or other conditions), which weakens foot muscles.
With mallet toes, the toe bends downward at the joint at the tip of the toe, and a painful corn often grows at the tip of the toe where it presses against the ground. Generally, the second toe is affected because it’s the longest. Injuries and arthritis are among the causes of mallet toe, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in joint tissues and joint fluid, which happens when the body is unable to keep uric acid levels in check, according to Boike. Although gout isn’t a foot condition per se, typically, one of the first places this buildup occurs is in the big toe joint. This is because, temperature-wise, the toes are the body’s coolest parts, and uric acid crystallizes with temperature changes, Boike says.
You’ll probably know a gout attack when it happens: The joint where the big toe connects to the foot will get hot, red, and swollen and will be painful even to the slightest touch.
You can help reduce your risk of gout attacks by making changes to your diet to avoid foods known to cause a rise in uric acid, like red meat, seafood, and alcohol, particularly beer, Boike says. Significant consumption of beer or liquor (more than one drink per day) has been linked to an increased risk of an attack of gout, he says.
Maintaining a normal body weight also appears to have a significant effect on preventing gout attacks.
Once you are in the midst of a gout attack, drinking water to keep hydrated and staying in bed may help, but if you have frequent attacks, your doctor will likely refer you to a rheumatologist to manage the condition, according to Boike.
Medications for gout are designed to reduce pain or control the body’s production of uric acid to limit the frequency of attacks, he says.
Although gout most often starts in the foot, it can spread to other joints, where uric acid can accumulate and crystallize, limiting range of motion — which is why it’s important to treat the condition, not just the symptoms, Boike says.
Proper toenail clipping — straight across and not too short — is key to preventing ingrown toenails. If you don’t cut them straight, the corners or sides of the nail can dig into the skin, causing pain and sometimes an infection (called paronychia).
Other causes of ingrown toenails include shoes that press your toes together and unusually curved toenails, according to the Mayo Clinic.
If you develop an ingrown toenail, you can try soaking the toe in warm water for 15 or 20 minutes several times a day and tucking a small piece of cotton or dental floss under the ingrown edge of the nail to encourage it to grow up and away from the skin
If home remedies aren’t working or you have diabetes or another cause of reduced blood flow to the toes, you should see a doctor, who may lift or remove the affected nail and recommend the use of a topical antibiotic to prevent infection, the Mayo Clinic says.
Toenail fungus can give nails an unattractive, deformed appearance. It can also spread to other nails, including fingernails.
Toenail fungus often forms after damage to the nail that causes the nail-skin junction, where the nail meets the skin of the toe, to be disrupted. This can occur after a pedicure, because of ill-fitting shoes, or after repetitive trauma from running or hiking that causes the nail to lift or get pressed on.
“Toenail fungus is caused by a skin-, hair-, and nail-loving fungus,” Vlahovic says. “The fungus is attracted to the protein in the nail bed, and the toenail is perfect because it’s in a moist and warm environment — inside your shoes — most of the day.”
Treating toenail fungus can be difficult, as it often comes back even after successful treatment. You should talk to your doctor about taking a prescription antifungal medication, because over-the-counter treatments likely won’t work.
If medication doesn’t work, you may need surgery to correct the trauma that caused the fungus to take hold, the Mayo Clinic says.
Foot deformities and their treatment – (Di Center clinics)
The human foot bears a colossal load, allowing a person to move freely in space. Fluctuations in body weight always end with changes in the arch area.
Any deformations are characterized by a persistent change in their natural appearance. Such changes can affect the length of individual bones, as well as the strength of tendons and ligaments. When a person experiences deforming changes in the limbs, his gait is disturbed, discomfort and pain appear during physical exertion.
The reason for such changes is the incorrect distribution of human weight over the entire area of the feet. Deforming changes occur with the same frequency in males and females, regardless of age. The risk group includes people suffering from chronic diseases of the musculoskeletal system, athletes, as well as people whose work activity is associated with excessive load on the legs.
Causes of foot deformities
The most common causes of deformity are:
connective tissue diseases;
prolonged exposure to low temperatures;
congenital malformations of the osteoarticular apparatus.
Even a slight deformation of the foot area can cause the development of diseases such as arthrosis and osteochondrosis. In addition, in people with deformities, there is a change in posture, up to scoliosis.
Depending on the location of pathological changes, it is customary to distinguish the following types of foot deformities:
Hammer-shaped curvature of the phalanges. This pathology most often affects the II and III fingers, which take the form of hammers. Against the background of the curvature, such complications arise as calluses in certain areas of the foot, as well as osteoarthritis.
Clubfoot. This type of deforming changes is the most common in everyday practice. Most often, the disease is diagnosed in children at preschool and primary school age. Clubfoot is characterized by a decrease in the length of the foot, and its supination. The cause of clubfoot is subluxation of the ankle joint. This disease can be either acquired or congenital. The acquired form of the disease is formed as a result of injuries, paresis and paralysis. As a result of improper load distribution, a person develops calluses on those parts of the foot that act as a support when walking.
Arched foot. This condition is expressed as an increase in the curvature of the longitudinal part of the foot. In a severe course of pathology, a person does not touch the middle of the foot and the surface on which he stands.
Flat feet. Incorrect distribution of the weight of the human body very often provokes a flattening of the transverse or longitudinal region of the arch. If a person has a longitudinal flat foot, then the load is distributed to the entire foot, and not along its outer edge (normal). Transverse flatfoot is characterized by an increase in the spaces between the heads of the metatarsal bones, and the expansion of the forefoot.
Heel foot. This disease is characterized by constant flexion of the back of the foot. In severe pathology, a person may experience contact between the back of the foot and the front surface of the lower leg.
Valgus and varus feet. This pathology occurs most often in children, with a valgus foot, the legs take an x-shape, and a varus feast — an o-shape.
Valgus deformity of the big toe is accompanied by the formation of a bone at the base of the big toe. Pathology occurs most often in women who constantly wear high-heeled shoes.
There is also a congenital type of deformation. This type of deformation is not so common, but it cannot be completely excluded. A striking representative of congenital pathologies is the equinus deformity of the foot and the vertical deformity of the talus region. This disease is caused by congenital malformations of fibrous (connective) tissue. During the period of age-related growth of the musculoskeletal system, the muscles do not keep pace with the growth rates of individual bones, as a result of which they shift beyond the anatomical norm.
Each type of deformity has its own clinical picture. As common signs of violations of the shape of the foot, we can distinguish:
Clubfoot is characterized by the impossibility of turning the leg inward and turning the toe. With different types of flat feet, a person has a heavy gait. In order to reduce pain, a person tries to lean on the edge of the leg while walking. A change in the shape of the feet with hammer-shaped curvature and valgus deformity becomes the reason for the impossibility of wearing tight shoes, as well as shoes with heels.
When making a diagnosis, the medical specialist takes into account the patient’s complaints, as well as the data of the clinical examination. Mandatory criteria are the position of the foot, the range of motion in the ankle and metatarsal joints, as well as the appearance of the legs. To obtain a reliable diagnosis, the following methods are used:
X-ray examination of the foot and ankle joint. This type of study allows you to find the place of localization of deforming changes.
Electromyography. The technique for measuring the bioelectrical activity of muscles is widely used in the diagnosis of horse feet. Based on the research data, it is possible to determine the contractile potential of the foot muscles.
Magnetic resonance and computed tomography. These methods are used when the information content of other studies is low.
Foot deformity treatment
Each type of deformation needs an individual approach. For the correction of some diseases, conservative treatment is sufficient, and in other clinical cases, the patient is recommended surgery.
With a congenital form of the disease, foot correction begins from the first days of a child’s life. A pediatric orthopedist manually moves the leg of the baby to the correct anatomical position, after which it is fixed with a plaster cast. Over time, the plaster is changed to a splint, which is applied before going to bed. When the baby turns 3 years old, he is prescribed physiotherapy exercises and massage.
Conservative treatment of acquired clubfoot consists in the use of special liners and orthopedic shoes. Physiotherapy and physiotherapy exercises are used as additional methods. With insufficient effectiveness of this treatment, patients undergo arthrodesis.
Treatment of all types of flat feet is carried out using conservative methods. Such patients are recommended to wear orthopedic insoles, correction with plaster casts, physiotherapy exercises, massage and physical therapy.
To eliminate this type of deformity, fixing splints and redressing bandages, correctors for the foot and toes, orthopedic shoes, bandages, specialized traction and heel splints are used. If conservative therapy did not give a positive result, then patients are prescribed arthrodesis of the ankle joint.
The congenital form of the disease is amenable to conservative treatment with redressing plaster casts and fixing splints. If the deformity is acquired, then only surgery can correct it.
Valgus deformity of the first toe
To eliminate the bumps on the leg, physiotherapeutic treatments, therapeutic exercises, massage, anti-inflammatory ointments, fixing bandages and splints are used. If the disease progresses, then the person is prescribed surgical treatment.
Surgical treatment of hallux valgus can be carried out using the following techniques: osteotomy of the proximal phalanx; removal (exostosectomy) of a bone neoplasm; dissection of the muscle that abducts the injured finger; metatarsal osteotomy.
In order to correct the shape of the fingers, various types of devices are used, such as orthopedic splints, socks, pads, liners and caps. Also, patients are recommended therapeutic massage, gymnastics, physiotherapy. In advanced cases, hammer toe deformity is corrected by surgery. This type of treatment can be both radical and symptomatic.
If deforming changes occur, a person may need additional consultation with a neurologist. Throughout the entire period of therapy, constant medical monitoring of the dynamics of the disease is recommended.
At the first suspicion of a malfunction in the car, we immediately run to the workshop. And, of course, a personal car is regularly washed, cared for, groomed. After all, it should not only serve for a long time, but also make a good impression. Alas, we often do not pay enough attention to our feet — although their «mileage» is much higher and they are much more vulnerable, and the foot is a unique part of the body.
The foot is a flexible and mobile structure that terminates the human lower limb. It performs the main push and support function when moving, copes with incredible loads. They soften every step of our body, acting as a shock absorber. A beautiful and easy gait depends on the foot, on the good mobility of the leg joints. The legs are more than two dozen small bones, more than 30 joints and about 100 ligaments.
Healthy joints in the foot help balance the body in space and keep it in position. They manage to balance our movements with our legs, hips and spine almost always skillfully, whether we are walking, running or jumping.
Finally, a well-groomed foot is the pride of many women who feel comfortable in open shoes when visiting swimming pools and seaside resorts.
On the sole of the foot there are reflexogenic zones with functional points connected to the organs and the brain. Therefore, even one foot massage can lead to an improvement in a person’s well-being.
The fact that the feet can withstand significant loads for a long time is amazing! The foot is strengthened by numerous muscles that are responsible for certain of its structures. The top of the foot is called the arch, the bottom is called the sole. The anatomy of the foot is very complex. Its structure involves not only muscles, but also cartilage, ligaments, tendons, nerve plexuses and an abundance of blood vessels. Ligaments connect bones and joints, they must be flexible, tendons are an extension of the muscle and also play a big role in the formation of a healthy foot.
The mechanism of this relatively small part of the body is thought out so carefully that people do not even think for a long time how important the feet are. And they begin to take care of them when trouble comes, when they begin to experience pain. Today people sit a lot, walk a little, wear inappropriate shoes. But due to various external and internal factors, the biomechanics of the foot changes throughout life, which leads to various pathologies and all kinds of deformations. Women are especially affected.
For example, ill-fitting shoes can lead to corns, calluses, ingrown toenails and unpleasant pain. Some people suffer from sweaty feet, athlete’s foot, and other skin conditions.
Poor posture and blood stasis can deform the bones of the foot and toes over the years. Finally, even the slightest pressure points under the sole of the foot, caused, for example, by a pebble in a shoe, can be dangerous for a large group of people — for diabetics.
In modern medicine of the 21st century, a young science has appeared — podology. It allows you to solve not only problems associated with the feet, but also deals with the prevention of foot diseases. In addition to treatment, the podiatrist will give qualified recommendations on foot care, advise, if necessary, on effective correction of the toes with the help of individual orthoses.