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Foot Health Glossary

Foot Word Collage

Welcome to our Foot Glossary! Here you can learn all about the different terminology used when talking about feet!

Click on any of the letters below to be taken to the section of words starting with that letter:

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

  1. A

    Arch
    The middle bottom area of the foot between the toe pad and heel pad.
    Arch Cookie
    Foam insert placed beneath the insole of a shoe to provide additional arch support.
    Arch Spring
    The upward curvature of footwear’s arch area.
    Arch Support
    An insole feature or shoe insert built up and strengthened to bolster the arch of the foot.
    Ankle
    The hinge joint between the leg and the foot. Its bones are cushioned by cartilage and connected by ligaments, tendons, and muscles that strengthen the ankle and enable its movement. Because it is in constant use, the ankle is often among the first joints to be affected by arthritic conditions.
    Athlete's Foot
    This fungal infection of the foot’s skin causes itching and, often, blisters and cracking between the toes. If not properly treated, it can cause a rash and itching elsewhere. Open sores associated with athlete’s foot can lead to more medically serious infections. Because the fungus survives under the toenails, symptoms reappear when conditions are favorable. Also known as tinea pedis.
    Atrophy
    The diminishment of a body part due to disease or lack of use.

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  2. B

    Biomechanics
    The principles and study of how the body works as a machine.
    Board Lasting
    A sturdy insole running the length of a shoe to maxmize stability.
    Brannock Device
    Adjustable tool used to measure the foot to ensure a properly fitting shoe.
    Bunion
    An abnormal prominence on the inside of the first metatarsal head that can result in displacement of the big toe. Caused by congenital malformation of the foot’s bony structure or by a joint disease such as rheumatoid arthritis, bunions are aggravated by wearing shoes tight in the toes. Symptoms include swelling, redness and pain. Properly fitting shoes will alleviate mild bunions. If severe pain is making ambulation difficult or impossible, anti-inflammatory medication may be necessary. If all other measures of treatment fail, surgery may be required.
    Bursa
    A collection of fluid at the site of excessive pressure or friction.

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  3. C                                         

    Callus
    Thick, rough area of skin caused by irritation or overuse.
    Calx
    The heel of the foot.
    Carpopedal
    Description of conditions affecting the wrist and foot.
    Charcot Foot
    Description of the damage to the bones and joints of a neuropathic foot. Also called osteopathy and neurogenic arthropathy.
    Chopart's Amputation
    Amputation that removes the forefoot and midfoot.
    Clawfoot
    A foot deformity characterized by an exaggerated arch and downwardly flexed toes.
    Clubfoot
    A deformity that twists the foot out of normal position that is also known as talipes. Additional characteristics include an extraordinarily high arch and other abnormalities of shape. Clubfoot sometimes accompanies meningomyelocele as a result of paralysis. In mild cases of clubfoot there are only slight changes to the foot’s structure. Severe cases can affect the leg as well as the foot. Though typically congenital, clubfoot may also be caused by injury or infection during childhood.
    Congenital
    Description of a medical condition genetically present at birth.
    Corn
    Small, hard formation, usually around a toe, caused by continuous pressure and/or friction. Also called a heloma.
    Cryptopodia
    Swelling of the lower leg and all but the sole of the foot.

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  4. D

    Dermal Ridges
    Ridges of the skin that produce an individual’s fingerprints and footprints.
    Didactylism
    Having only two digits on a hand or foot.
    Dorsalis Pedis Pulse
    The pulse felt between the first and second metatarsal bones along the top of the foot.
    Dorsiflex
    To flex the foot upward, so the top of the foot approaches the front of the leg.

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  5. E

    Edema
    Swelling that results from fluid accumulating in the tissue of a body part, such as swelling in the foot and around the ankle.
    Epidermophyton
    A fungus that attacks both human skin and nails, but not hair; it also is a cause of athlete’s foot.
    Equinus
    Limited ankle flexibility. Also known as talipes quinus.

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  6. F

    Flare
    Width of the heel at the bottom of the outer shoe sole in relation to the top of the sole. Provides stability.
    Flatfoot
    Condition in which the arch of the foot has flattened. Also known as splayfoot and talipes planus.
    Footbed
    Another name for the insole of a shoe.
    Footdrop
    A foot deformity that prohibits the ability to place the heel on the ground. Also dropping of the foot from paralysis of the anterior muscles of the leg.
    Forefoot
    The front portion of the foot.
    Fungus
    A single-cell or multi-cellular organism capable of causing infections, including athlete’s foot. Although fungal diseases are typically slow to develop, difficult to diagnose and resistant to treatment, they are rarely fatal — except for systemic mycotic infections, which can be life-threatening for patients with compromised immune systems.

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  7. G

    Gait
    The biomechanics of an individual’s walking stride.
    Gait Analysis
    Evaluation of the walking stride, done by watching the individual walk in a straight line.
    Grasp Reflex
    Clenching of the toes on stimulation of the sole of the foot.

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  8. H

    Hallux Limitus
    Limited motion at the first metatarsophalangeal joint of the foot.
    Hallux Ridge
    Pronounced area between the base of the toes and the ball of the foot inside a shoe. Prevents slippage.
    Hallux Rigidus
    Limited motion of the proximal phalanx at the first metatarsophalangeal joint.
    Hallux Valgus
    A big toe bent so that it overlaps the second toe.
    Hallux Varus
    A big toe bent away from the other toes of the foot.
    Heel
    The hindmost area of the foot. Also called the calx.
    Hey's Amputation
    Amputation of the foot beyond the tarsometatarsal joint.
    Hindfoot
    The posterior area of the foot, including the talus and calcaneus regions.
    Hyperdactyly
    Having more than five fingers or toes per hand or foot.
    Hyperidrosis
    Excessive sweating of the feet.
    Hypodactyly
    Having fewer than five fingers or toes per hand or foot.

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  9. I

    Immersion Foot
    A condition like trench foot affecting people who’ve spent extended periods in water.
    Instep
    The arched interior area of the foot (or a shoe) between the ball and the ankle.

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  10. J

  11. K

  12. L

    Last
    Form that gives shape to a shoe. Made of wood or synthetic materials.
    Lisfranc's Amputation
    Amputation of the foot at the tarsometatarsal joint, using the plantar soft tissues to make the flap.

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  13. M

    Macerated
    Description of moist, white skin that results from exposure to excessive wetness.
    Madura Foot
    A progressive fungal infection of the foot.
    March Foot
    Painful swelling of the foot resulting from excessive strain. Sometimes accompanied by a fracture of a metatarsal bone.
    Medial
    Referring to the inner, arch-side of a shoe.
    Metatarsal Bones
    Five long bones that form the slope of the foot. Help move the body forward when walking or running.
    Metatarsus
    The medical term for the arch area of the foot, between the ankle and the toes.
    Midsole
    Cushioning between the sole and the upper of a shoe that absorbs shock and provides stability.
    Monodactyly
    Having only one finger or toe on a hand or foot.
    Morton's Toe
    Tenderness or pain in the metatarsal area of the foot and between the third and fourth toes, caused by chronic compression of the medial plantar nerve supplying these toes. Also called plantar neuroma and Morton's Disease, Morton’s Foot or Morton’s Neuralgia.
    Mycetoma
    Chronic, progressive bacterial or fungal infection of the foot or leg.

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  14. N

    Negative Heel
    Shoe design feature with a lower heel for more natural foot placement when walking.

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  15. O

    Onychogryphosis
    Excessive development of the toenail, usually on the big toe, as a result of trauma or infection.
    Orthotics
    Science using specialized mechanical devices to compensate for weakened or abnormal joints or limbs.
    Osteoarthritis
    Progressive erosion of opposing joint surfaces. Results in degeneration of joint.
    Osteomyelitis
    Bone infection.
    Outsole
    The part of the shoe in contact with the ground.

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  16. P

    Pedal
    Concerning the foot or feet.
    Pedorthics
    Design, manufacture, fitting and modification of shoes and related foot appliances to address painful or disabling conditions of the foot and leg.
    Pes Abductus
    Deformity in which the interior side of the sole touches the ground. Usually accompanied by a breaking down of the foot’s plantar arch.
    Pes Adductus
    Deformity in which the outer side of the sole touches the ground. Usually accompanied by some degree of talipes equinus or talipes cavus.
    Pes Cavus
    Having an abnormally high longitudinal foot arch. Congenital or caused by a muscular imbalance.
    Phalanges
    Bones in the toes.
    Planta Pedis
    Bottom of the foot; also called the sole.
    Plantalgia
    Pain in the sole of the foot.
    Plantar Reflex
    Flexion of the foot caused by stroking or scratching the lateral border of the foot’s sole from the heel to the toes.
    Plantar Wart
    A viral epidermal tumor on the sole of the foot, sensitive to pressure and painful during walking. Sometimes caused by going barefoot. Also called verruca plantaris.
    Plantigrade
    Walking or running on the full sole of the foot; characteristic of humans and many quadrupeds, including bears.
    Podiatry
    Specialized study and medical care of the human foot, including its anatomy, pathology and surgical treatment.
    Pododynia
    Burning pain of the heel and sole that doesn’t produce any redness of the foot.
    Pronation
    Outward and downward positioning of the foot, typically characterized by by a low arch.

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  17. Q

  18. R

    Rim
    The part of the shoe the foot enters. Provides lateral stability. Also called the collar and topline.
    Rocker Sole
    Curved shoe sole designed to propel wearers through their stride. Decreases lower body fatigue and the risk of repetitive stress injuries.

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  19. S

    Sach Foot
    Prosthetic foot with a solid ankle and a cushioned heel.
    Safe Foot
    Prosthetic foot with a stationary attachment and a flexible endoskeleton.
    Sinistropedal
    Favoring the left foot.
    Splayfoot
    Another term for flatfoot; also called talipes valgus.
    Supination
    Inward and upward positioning of the foot, typically characterized by a high arch.
    Biomechanics
    Outward rolling of the walking or running foot.
    Syme's Amputation
    Amputation of the foot just above the ankle joint.

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  20. T

    Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome
    Combination of symptoms caused by the compression of the posterior tibial nerve or the plantar nerves in the tarsal tunnel. Symptoms include pain, numbness and tingling of the sole of the foot.
    Tarsus
    The seven bones between the foot and leg. Includes the talus, calcaneus, navicular bone, cuboid bone and medial, intermediate and lateral cuneiform bones.
    Tetradactyly
    Having four fingers or toes on the hand or foot.
    Thomas Heel
    Shoe modification designed to bring the heel of the foot into varus and to prevent depression in the region of the head of the talus. Characterized by a heel one half inch longer and an eighth to a sixth of an inch higher on the inside.
    Trench Foot
    Condition of the foot caused by the prolonged action of water on the skin in combination with circulatory disruption due to cold and inactivity.
    Tridactylism
    Having only three fingers or toes on the hand or foot.
    Two-point Gait
    Advance of crutch or cane in tandem with the opposite foot. For example, right foot and left crutch or cane are advanced together, then the left foot and right crutch.

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  21. U

    Upper
    The part of the shoe that covers the length of foot.

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  22. V

    Volkmann's Contracture
    Contraction of the toes combined with loss of power, typically after severe injury or improper application of a tourniquet or foot cast.

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  23. W

    Waist
    The section of the foot or shoe between the ball and instep.

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  24. X

  25. Y

  26. Z

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