Foot Problems Glossary - List of Terms 

Foot Problems Glossary - List of Terms

Achilles tendonitis: The iIrritation and inflammation of the tendon that attaches to the back of the heel bone.

Bunions: This is the painful enlargement at the joint at the base of the big toe, causing the skin over the joint to become swollen and tender. A bunion can also occur on the little toe from sitting cross-legged for long periods. Can be genetic.

Calluses/corns: Areas where the top layer of skin has thickened in response to pressure exerted by bone in a tight fitting shoe. The thickened, hardened area irritates underlying skin and results in localized soreness often associated with walking. Corns are most common on the big toe and fifth toe. Calluses also are found underneath ends of foot bones. Soft corns may also develop between the toes. There are many ways to get rid of calluses.

Chiropody: See Podiatry.

Clubfoot: See Talipes

Flatfoot: A deformity of the feet, caused by weakened or injured muscles and ligaments of the arch. Often genetic.

Hammertoe: A condition, usually stemming from muscle imbalance or improper footwear, in which the toe is bent in a claw, or hammer-like position. Can be retrained.

Heel spurs: Growths of bone on the underside of the foot in the area of the heel bone.

Ingrown toenail: Common affliction in whihc nails whose corners or sides dig painfully into the skin of the toes.

Neuromas: Enlarged benign growths of nerves. They are most common between the third and fourth toes. Caused by injury, pressure or tissue rubbing against and irritating the nerves.

Orthopaedics/orthopedics: The medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation and prevention of injuries to the musculoskeletal system.

Orthopaedists/orthopedists: An orthopaedic physician/surgeon with up to 14 years of formal education including four years in medical school, and five years in orthopaedic residency at a major medical center. Also see orthopaedics.

Plantar warts: Condition on the sole (plantar or bottom surface) of the foot caused by a virus that may invade the foot through cuts and breaks in the skin. Walking barefoot on warm moist environments, like public showers, can expose you to this sometimes painful skin infection. Can be removed with duct tape.

Podiatry: The health care field that specializes in conditions and function of the human foot and ankle. It includes examination, diagnosis and treatment by medical and surgical methods. Practitiioners are called podiatrists.

Podiatrist: A podiatric physician, Doctor of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), specializing in treatment and conditions of the foot and ankle.

Tarsals: The bones that make up the heel and the back of the instep. There are seven tarsals in each foot. Together with the metatarsals, they form the arch of the foot.

Talipes: Also known as clubfoot. This common condition of the foot is caused by shortening of muscles and tendons and is usually a congenital deformity.

Metatarsals: The bones that form the front of the foot's instep. There are five parallel metatarsal bones in each foot, forming the ball of the foot. Together with the tarsals, they form the arch of the foot.

Phalanges: The fourteen small bones that make up the toes. There are two phalanges in each large toe, and three in each smaller toe.



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