Why Is Stepping On A Lego So Painful? Science Has An Answer

The answer to why stepping on a Lego is so painful lies in a combination of your anatomy and nervous system, along with some simple physics.

by Fatherly
Originally Published: 

On the Mount Rushmore of parenting questions, alongside things like, “Is that sleeping baby breathing?” and “Where does all this snot come from?” sits this humdinger: “Why is it so f–king painful to step on a Lego?” When it comes to your kid‘s sleep habits and bodily fluids, you’re on your own. When it comes that last one, though, the geniuses at Today I Found Out have you covered:

  • A single Lego can bear up to 4,240 Newtons of force, or weights in excess of 953 pounds, before it starts to deform. They are made of unforgiving material and care not for your foot.
  • Speaking of your foot, it’s one of the most sensitive areas of the human body and contains 100-200,000 exteroceptors. Those are nerve endings that gather feedback from the outside world — things like the lush softness of freshly cut grass or the excruciating pain of a sharp-edged, 2.25 square-centimeter plastic brick — and ports it straight to your brain.
  • Said soles are subject to significant impact forces. Just walking slowly can produce impact forces twice your body weight.
  • A 165-pound person standing on a single Lego will put those 100-200,000 exteroceptors under 3,262,222 pascals of pressure, or 32 times what they’re under when you’re relaxing on the couch (where you’re undoubtably sitting on a Lego).

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That last stat is before you factor in the force of impact while walking. Unless you’re weighing in at 476.5 pounds and could maybe snap the brick in half, stepping on a Lego is guaranteed to stimulate your nervous system in an extremely concentrated, uncomfortable manner. So, now you know, and knowing is half the battle. The other half is hopping around on one foot and loudly cursing all things Danish.

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