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Kuru Study: Foot Pain is Real—and Really Costly

The painful numbers add up.

According to Kuru Footwear’s annual Foot Pain Trends report, as many as eight in 10 American are experiencing ongoing foot pain. What’s more, these sufferers spend an average of $228 each month to treat their foot pain. These expenses include podiatrist visits, treatments, medications, orthotics, and more. The report found that 51 percent of adults spend $100 per month, while one in 10 adults spend $250 or more per month ($3,000 per year) on foot pain-related expenses.

Ongoing foot care education and early treatment of foot pain is critical in maintaining holistic health and mobility throughout life. According to an APMA study, Americans have little knowledge or experience working with podiatrists. In fact, they found that the majority of Americans are more likely to first seek the counsel of their primary care physician about matters of foot health. The study noted that a podiatrist visit typically occurs only after the ailment puts limitations on a person’s daily activities.

Some of the most common conditions that spur a podiatrist visit include plantar fasciitis (most common) followed by pain in the ball of the feet, nail problems, bunions, and pain from wearing high heels. According to Kuru’s report, pain under the heel was the most common for adults (58 percent), followed by underneath the arch (50 percent), at the ball of the foot (38 percent), some toes (27 percent), at the ankle (26 percent), top of the foot (19 percent), and at the toes (7 percent). One of the most common sources of under-the-heel pain is plantar fasciitis, which often starts as pain in the heel of the foot and often extends to pain in the arch.

Not surprisingly in an aging population overall, recent reports indicate that podiatrist visits are on the rise. Research by Future Market Insights reported that the market value of the Podiatry Services Market increased at 2.2 percent CAGR and that General Podiatry is expected to grow at 2.9 percent CAGR from 2023 to 2033.

Evidence from Kuru’s and APMA’s report findings suggests that Americans are looking for comfort and foot pain relief in their footwear. APMA reported that the majority of adults want their feet to look better and their shoes to be more comfortable. Kuru’s study found similar results: a total of 88 percent of adults surveyed buy shoes with foot pain in mind. This aligns with Grand View Research’s market analysis report, which states that “fashion footwear has been losing market share to more comfortable and athleisure-oriented segments.” Their report showed that the fastest growing global shoe segment is athletic-based footwear.

The survey data presented in Kuru’s report is based on a sample of 6,030 American adults, aged 18 years and older, who reported experiencing foot pain within the last 12 months (January–December 2022). The survey has been conducted with a margin of error of +/- 1.66 percent and a confidence level of 99 percent. These results provide a statistically significant representation of the population surveyed. To read the full report go here.

The March 2024 Issue

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