Medical word list

Alfabetische index



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Abduction Movement from the median plane, motion of a body party away from the midline of the body.
Accommodative Designed with a primary goal of conforming to the individual’s anatomy.
Accommodative foot orthosis A device designed with a primary goal of conforming to the individual’s foot allowing plantar-grade floor contact which permits forces to be evenly distributed to the foot.
Achilles tendon Large tendon from the calf of the leg to the posterior calcaneus.
Achilles Tendinosis / Tendinitis Inflammation and degeneration of the Achilles tendon.
Adduction Movement toward the median plane, motion of a body part toward the midline of the body.
  A brace (usually plastic) worn on the lower leg and foot to support the ankle, hold the foot and ankle in the correct position, and correct foot drop.  
Anastomosis The connections or unions of the branches of the body.
Ambulation To move about, to walk.
Amputation Removal of a limb or other appendage.
Anterior Before, in front of, forward part, as front portion of a shoe or foot.
Antiacid (antacid) An agent that counteracts or neutralizes acidity.
Apex Highest point or edge of a supporting element, the thickest aspect of a flare, metatarsal bar, or rocker sole.
Apophysis A marked prominence or process (change from one state to another) on any part of a bone.
Arthritis (synovitis) Inflammation of a joint
Arthrosis Disease of a joint.
Arthrodesis Immobilization of a joint by surgery.
Atrophy Without growth, decrease in size, a wasting.
Balance To support or arrange to equalize opposing forces.
Balmoral shoe Front laced shoe in which the meeting of the quarters and the vamp is stitched or continuous at the distal end of the throat.
Ball Width of the sole at the metatarsal heads.
Ball girth Circumferential measurement encompassing the 1st to the 5th metatarsal area.
Bar, metatarsal Any bar of rubber, leather, or synthetic material applied transversely across the bottom of the shoe sole, with the apex immediately proximal to the metatarsal heads.
Bar, rocker Sole bar having its apex beneath the metatarsal shafts causing rocker instead of flexing action.
Basic Patient Information Age Sex Occupation Recreational activities Shoe wear preferences and occupational requirements (See also Pain)
Bilateral Affecting both right and left sides, pertaining to right and left sides.
Biomechanics Applying mechanical principles to the study of how the human body moves, the science of locomotion of the human body.
Bisect Divide into two equal parts.
Blind eyelet A metal or plastic eyelet concealed beneath the top surface of the shoe leaving only a small, rimless hole.
Blucher shoe A front lace shoe pattern with the tongue as part of the forefoot and where the quarters lap over the vamp or forefoot.
Bottom filler Material that fills the cavity between the outer and inner soles.
Break Creasing formed at the vamp of the shoe when the metatarsal-phalangeal joints are in dorsiflexion.
Breathability The ability to allow air exchange to the foot through the material of the toe.
Bunion Inflammation of the bursa in inner aspect of the first metatarsal head.
Bursae Bursae are closed, partially collapsed balloons containing synovial fluid and lined with synovial membrane on the inside and a fibrous membrane on the outside.
Buttress Crepe or foam added to the upper leather of the shoe to reinforce the counter.  May be medial or lateral.
Calcaneus Heel bone.
Calcaneus deformity The foot or leg functions or is fixed in dorsiflexion (opposite of equinus deformity).
Calcaneal Apophysitis (Sever’s Disease) In immature, athletic males, pain at the apex of the heel.  Precipitated by running on hard surfaces.  Physical findings include apical heel tenderness and occasionally discomfort on passive stretching of the Achilles tendon.
Callus Hard, thickened place on skin, substance between ends of fractured bones.  Formation in areas subjected to high vertical and shear loads.  Defends against blisters and ulceration, which in turn can cause symptoms and predispose patients with peripheral neuropathy to deep infection. Calluses are:  localized, skin lines pass through the lesion, no satellite lesions, no punctate hemorrhages at the base and maximum pain with direct pressure.
Cavus Hollow foot, high arches.
Cavus high arch foot The transverse tarsal joint is permanently locked, with the talar head being stacked over the top of the anterior portion of the calcaneus and the navicular medially located relative to the talar head. 
Certified Pedorthist An individual who has met certification criteria established by the Board for Certification in Pedorthics (BCP) and meets continuing education requirements.
Charcot Marie Tooth (CMT) Usually characterized by weakness of the peroneal leg muscles and foot deformities such as high arches or claw toes.
Chrome tannage Using chrome salts to convert hides to leather.
Chukka ¾ Blucher boot with 2 or 3 eyelets.
Claw toe Curling of the lesser toes whereby both small joints (PIP and DIP) of a toe are flexed, either flexible or rigid, with the MTP neutral or extended.. 
Collar An additional strip of material stitched around the top line of the shoe, sometimes padded.  A collar may convert a low-top shoe into a high-top shoe or boot.
Composition Various materials which are pulverized, compressed and held with a binder to form a sheet material for insoles, midsoles, heel bases, and other components.
Conformability Ability of a material to mold to the shape of the foot.
Concave Hollow and curved inward.
Cork Made from the bark of the cork tree.  Cork may be combined with other materials, available in various forms such as sheet cork, natural cork, cushion cork, and thermo cork; different names are given to the cork according to the binders used.
Counter stabilizer An extension of the base of an existing heel medially (toward the body midline) and/or laterally (away from body midline), encompassing the shoe counter.  Its purposes are to stabilize the hindfoot and to provide a broader base of support.
Cuboid A lateral tarsal bone.
Cuneiform Wedge shaped, bones of tarsal foot segment.
Customized Mass-produced and then modified to fit an individual.
Customized foot orthosis Any prefabricated appliance or device that requires modification or assembly to accommodate a condition or functionally alter lower extremity biomechanical function and is removable from the individual’s shoes.  Cutting a prefabricated inlay to an indicated trimline does not constitute customizing  foot orthosis.
Custom made shoe Shoe that is individually patterned and made over a modified positive model of the individual’s foot.  Custom made shoes can be therapeutic or standard.
Custom molded foot orthosis Any foot appliance or device molded to a positive model of the individual’s foot and also made of suitable materials with regard to the individual’s condition. 
Custom molded shoe Shoe molded from a full dimensional cast of patient’s foot.  Shoe that is individually made by a molded process over a modified positive model of the individual’s foot.  Custom molded shoes can be therapeutic or standard.
Deformity Any departure from normal shape or form.
Deerskin Leather made from the skin of deer.
Depth shoe Any shoe that has a full length, heel to toe inlay; when the inlay is removed, it must provide a minimum of 3/16” of additional internal depth.
Diabetes A disease that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar as it should. 
Distal Farther away from, at the more distant end.
Dorsal / dorsum Pertaining to the back or upper surface of the hand or foot.
Dorsiflexion Turning upward of the foot or toes.
Doubler Interlining placed between the vamp and vamp lining for additional reinforcement.
Dutchman Lateral sole wedge.
Dystrophy A degenerative disorder.
Dysaesthesia Impairment of sensitivity, especially to touch.
Eccentric contraction The contraction of a muscle while it is elongating.
Exterior Outside of, external.
Elevation Material added to the bottom of the shoe for limb length discrepancy.
Enthesopathy A diseaseprocess occurring at the site of insertion of muscletendons and ligaments into bones or joint capsules.
Equinovalgus A form of clubfoot, permanent foot eversion and equinus.
Equinovarus Commonest form of clubfoot, varus, inversion of the equinus.
Erythema Abnormal redness of skin and inflammation.
Esthesia The ability to feel or perceive sensations.
Etiology An assigning of cause or origin of disease.
Eversion Turning outward, away from the midline.
Excavation A depression created to the inlay or insole to relieve high pressure areas.
Extended rigid shank A firm, stiff, inflexible addition to the shoe between the insole and outsole extending heel to toe.
External shoe modification Any external change(s) to affect function of a shoe from the shoe’s original manufacturer’s specifications.
Fascia A fibrous tissue membrane covering, supporting, and separating muscles and other organs.
Fibula The lateral and small lower leg bone.
Fifth ray Consists of the fifth metatarsal head only.  The axis of motion is triplane, and with a dorsiflexion and plantar flexion component.  Its ROM should extend equally above and below the plane of the other metatarsals. 
Flare A spreading out, widened heel or sole base.
Flat foot (Pes planus foot)  The medial longitudinal arch is absent with weight bearing.  It is acquired or congenital and may be rigid or flexible.  Causes include abnormal bony structure of the foot due to tarsal coalition, medical diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or diabetes, neurologic diseases such as polio or cerebal palsy, tendon disorders, peripheral nerve injuries.
Flared heel An extension of the base of an existing heel medially (toward the body midline) and/or laterally (away from the body midline) which does not encompass the shoe counter.  Its purpose is to stabilize the hind foot.
Flex Bend, to bend upon itself, to decrease the angle of.
Flexion The act of bending, decreasing angle at joint.
Flexor Muscle that bends apart.
Foot slap Lack of tibialis anterior function giving rise to rapid uncontrolled descent of the forefoot to the floor after heel strike.
Footwear Anything worn on the foot, such as shoes, slippers or socks.  Footwear can be protective, accommodative, functional, decorative, therapeutic, standard or a combination.
Forefoot valgus deformity The plantar surface of the forefoot is everted relative to the calcaneus when the subtalar joint is in neutral position.  Forefoot valgus is frequently accompanied by hammer toes, intermetatarsal neuromas, metatarsalgia and plantar keratoses under the three middle metatarsal heads, with dissipation of the fat pads under the metatarsal heads occurring over time as hypermobile metatarsals grind away at the protective tissue. 
Full grain Outer surface of a hide with smooth skin intact.
Functional Designed with the primary goal of controlling an individual’s anatomical function, such as providing support or stability or assisting ambulation.
Functional foot orthosis A device designed to control an individual’s lower extremity biomechanical function by providing support or stability.
Girth Circumferential dimension measured around the last.
Hallux /great toe The largest toe of the foot.
Hallux rigidus Stiffness and rigidity of the great toe, generally caused by osteoarthritis. 
Hallux valgus (bunion) A lateral deviation of the great toe based at the first metatarsal phalangeal joint.  
Hallux Valgus Interphalangeaus Marked lateral deviation of the great toe at the IP joint level, requiring a different surgical procedure than hallux valgus at the 1st MTP.
Hammer toe Curling of the lesser toes, characterized by flexion of the PIP joint and an extended DIP joint.  The MTP is neutral or extended.  The second toe is most often involved, relative to excessive length of the digit.  Patients complain of dorsal irritation and callus formation at the PIP joint.
Heel breast Anterior margin of heel.
Heel counter The most posterior portion of the upper, which surrounds the heel of the shoe and grips the back of the heel bone.
Heel elevations Additions to the heel of the shoe to accommodate limb length discrepancy (minimal elevations can be applied internally).
Heel pitch Vertical slant at the posterior aspect of the heel.
Heel seat Area of the shoe upon which the calcaneus rests.
Heel Thomas Heel with anteriorly extended medial border.
Hindfoot The tarsus region or back part of the foot.
Hypersensitivity Increased and excessive response to a stimulus or irritant.
Hypermobile flat foot Ligamentous laxity and the loss of the stabilizing effect of the tibialis posterior are the two most common causes of hypermobile flat foot – failure of the normal conversion of the flexible foot at foot flat to a rigid structure for push off is the underlying pathomechanics of symptomatic conditions related to the flat foot deformity. 
Iatrogenic Induced by a physician’s activity (surgery).
Inflammatory arthritis Soft tissue and articular damage due to inflammation can result in debilitating foot deformity and pain
Insole An integral design component (layer) of the shoe that is the shoe’s structural anchor to which is attached the upper, toe box, heel counter, linings, and/or welting.
Instep Portion of the upper over the midfoot.
Inlay Prefabricated removable material upon which the foot directly rests inside the shoe.  The inlay is an integral design component of some shoes.
Inflare Last or shoe whose anterior region provides more medial than lateral surface area.
Inner sole Material conforming to the size and shape of the last bottom upon which the foot rests; an insole.
Innervate The stimulation or communications of parts of the body through its nerves.
Interdigital corns Chronic irritation of the skin on the adjacent side of two toes due to an underlying bony prominence resulting in callus formation.
Interdigital Neuroma Impingement of the interdigital nerve by the intermetatarsal ligament results in degeneration of the nerve and secondary fibrosis.
Internal shoe modifications Functional or accommodative alteration(s) to the inside of a shoe that appropriately addresses the patient’s condition.
Internal wedges (postings) Additions to the interior of the shoe that may be medial (toward the body midline) or lateral (away from the body midline).  The function is to shift, transfer, or support weight upon standing or during ambulation.  The purpose is to add support, stabilize, or equalize weight distribution.
Intrinsics Many individual muscles make up the foot intrinsics.  Their generalized activity, maximal in the second half of stance phase, stabilizes the transverse tarsal and subtalar joints and contributes to push off.  Weakness may result in clawing of the toes.
Invert Turn upside down, reverse position, to turn over.
Inversion Turning inward, toward the midline.
Iron Term used to represent 1/48th of an inch, used in measuring sole thickness, e.g., 6-iron sole is 1/8” thick.
Fascitis Inflamed fascia.
Lace stay Portion of the upper containing eyelets for lacings.
Lace to toe Low or high quarter shoe laced to the toe; surgical opening.
Last Model approximately the shape and size of the foot, over which a shoe is made, usually made of wood, plastic or plaster.
Lasting Fitting and shaping of the upper to the last.
Last systems Methods of sizing last dimensions:  Arithmetic, Geometric, Dynametric, Europoint
Lateral Pertaining to the side, away from the median.
Lateral Thomas heel An anterior lateral extension longer than the standard heel to add hindfoot or midfoot support laterally.
Length Dimension on the center of the last bottom from toe point to heel point.
Littleway construction Shoe construction involving a lock stitch in which the upper is fastened to the insole with staples.
Locomotion Movement of a body from one place to another.
Longitudinal arch Arc of hindfoot and midfoot from mid-calcaneus extending proximal to the first metatarsal head.
Longitudinal arch pad A device placed inside the shoe positioned medially between the calcaneus and first metatarsal head to provide support.  Longitudinal arch pads are available in a variety of shapes, materials, and sizes.
Malleolus Bony prominence at the distal portion of the tibia and fibula.
Mallet toe Flexed deformity of the last joint of the toe, often accompanied by a callus at the tip of that toe.  A neutral or extended PIP joint and a flexed DIP joint.  The MTP is neutral.  The flexed posture of the DIP joint may be rigid or flexible.  Pain and callus formation may be present dorsally over the DIP joint and at the tip of the toe.  The deformity is usually gradual.  A mallet toe rigid with ankle dorsiflexed and passively correctable with the ankle plantar flexed is caused by a tight flexor digitorum longus. 
Matrix Surrounding substance within which something else originates.
Medial Pertaining to the middle, toward the median.
Median A plane down the midline, dividing the body into right and left halves.
Metatarsal Long bones of the midfoot proximal to the toes (phalanges).  They are numbered from 1-5, 5 being behind the little toe.
MTH Metatarsal head.
Midsole Sole placed between inner and outer sole.
Modality A method of, application of, or the employment of, any therapeutic agent, limited usually to physical agents.
Modifications Alteration, change or addition.
Molded process The process by which a material will react and reconfigure to meet contours of a positive image.
Morbidity The rate of incidence of a disease.


Nail evaluation Toenail disorders frequently cause foot related morbidity (the rate of incidence of a disease).
Navicular Scaphoid, boat-shaped, a bone of the medial tarsal region.
Negative heel Heel whose plantar surface is lower or the same as the ball of the shoe.
Neoprene Extremely durable, oil-resistant synthetic, rubber-like material used for outsoles, heels, and other components.
Neuroma Generally implies a thickening and irritated nerve between the toes.
Neuromuscular Very general term relating to both nerves and muscles or to the nerve supply to the muscle.
Neuropathic diabetic foot Skin ulceration and Charcot arthropathy are both phenomena related to sensory impairment in the neuropathic diabetic foot.
Open Kinetic Chain Non weight bearing, swing phase of gait cycle.  Pronation and supination at the subtalar joint have no effect on the motion in the talus or leg. 
Orthopedics Treatment of abnormal conditions and deformities of the skeletal system.
Orthosis Device that a person wears or uses to help support, align, or accommodate a body part.  Supportive device for the body.
Osteoarthritis Arthritis due to aging, most often affecting the weight bearing joints such as the hip, knee and foot.
Osteomyelitis Infection of the bone.
Outsole An integral component of the shoe that makes contact with the ground.  Bottom, ground contacting portion of the shoe.
  1. Examination by the hands, feeling by touch.
Paraesthesia Morbid or perverted sensation, abnormal sensation, like burning, prickling, formication (like the creeping of ants).
Paronychia An infection involving the medial or lateral nail wall, often due to ingrown toenail.
Pathology Study of causes of and conditions produced by diseases.
Pedorthics Allied health profession concerned with the design, manufacture, fit, and modification of footwear and related orthotic devices.  The pedorthist’s goal is to alleviate foot pain, establish good balance and protect the foot from injury. 
Peroneal Of or pertaining to the fibula; in the region of the fibula. 
Pes cavus An exaggeration of the normal arch of the foot.
Pes planus A condition in which the arch of the foot is broken down, the entire sole touching the ground
Phalanges Small bones of the forefoot (toes).
Plantar Concerning sole of the foot.  Bottom or weight bearing aspect of the foot.
Plantar fasciitis Pain is experienced along the arch and almost invariably heel pain.
Plantar flexion Motion which pushes the foot and ankle down and propels the body forward.
Posterior Toward the back, toward the rear.
Prescription A formula or directions written by a physician or medical practitioner.  Legal order requesting specific treatment, stating diagnosis and signed by a medical practitioner.
Prosthesis Replacement of a missing part, artificial substitute for a body part.
Pronation A tri-plane motion consisting of simultaneous movement of the calcaneus and the foot in the direction of abduction, eversion, and dorsiflexion, opposite of supination.
Proximal Near the point of origin or attachment.  Nearer to the central portion of the body; opposite of distal.
Pump bump Characterized by a bony prominence usually located just lateral to the tendon proximal to its insertion.  The overlying skin often appears erythematous and the patient complains of local irritation from the shoe counter.  Tenderness is localized to the prominence with an absence of diffuse swelling. 
Reiter’s syndrome The combination of arthritis, conjunctivitis and urethritis (occasionally diarrhoea). Occurs mainly in youngmen.
Rheumatism Indefinite term applied to various conditions characterized by muscle and joint pains.
Rheumatoid arthritis Swelling, discomfort and stiffness of the joints and tendons, often beginning in the feet.  
Rigid Stiff, firm.
Rigid rocker bottoms Exterior additions to the outsole that taper off to the distal tip of a shoe’s outsole, including extended rigid shank, and may taper off to the posterior edge of the heel, affecting mechanical function.
Rocker bar Sole bar with the apex beneath the metatarsal shafts causing rocking instead of flexing action.
Rocker bottoms Exterior additions to the outsole that taper off to the distal tip of the outsole and may taper off to the posterior edge of the heel, affecting biomechanical function.
Sach heel (Solid Ankle Cushion Heel).  A softer durometer material replacing a portion of the posterior heel base.  SACH heels reduce shock at heel strike and compensates for the absence of ankle motion.
Sagittal plane Any plane which divides the body into right and left portions.  Sagittal plane motion and position are dorsiflexion and plantar flexion.
Sesamoids 2 bones under the 1st metatarsal bone.
Shank Firm, stiff, inflexible area of the shoe between the heel breast and ball that supports the plantar fascia.
Shear Pressure and friction combined.
Shock absorption Impact load attenuation is one of the most critical roles of the hindfoot and ankle articular complex and the motors acting across these joints.
Shoes A form of footwear that provides covering.  For purposes of these definitions, the term shoe includes, but is not limited to, shoes, boots, slippers, sandals.
Sock lining Material that provides smooth surface on top of the inner sole.
Sole of the foot The sole of the foot has many sweat glands and is covered with a thick, heavy skin, especially under the heel and ball.  The padding immediately under the skin is referred to as subcutaneous tissue (fat and stringy fibrous material) which bears the weight of and cushions the body.  It is 2 cm thick at the heel.
Sole elevations Additions to the outsole of the shoe to accommodate limb length discrepancy (minimal elevations can be applied internally).
Splay To spread out
Splint, Dennis-Browne Rigid bar between both shoes used to abduct or adduct the feet
  1. Crepe or foam added to the upper leather of the shoe to reinforce the counter; may be medial or lateral.
Stance Position of the feet, mode of standing.
Standard custom shoe Non-therapeutic, individually constructed shoe.
Standard over the counter shoe Any ready made shoe for the general populace.  Shoes come in a variety of styles, including dress, casual, work and athletic.
Static At rest, not in motion, inactive.
Straight last
  1. Form for constructing a shoe that can be worn on either foot.
Form for constructing a shoe in which the medial border approximates a straight line.
  1. The abnormal movement of one of the bones that comprise a joint.  Not a true dislocation; a partial dislocation.
Sulcus Long, narrow groove or furrow on the plantar surface of the foot proximal to the phalanges.
Supination A tri-plane motion consisting of the simultaneous movement of the calcaneus and the foot in the direction of adduction, inversion, and plantar flexion, opposite of pronation.
Sustentaculum tali A prominence on the top of the calcaneus projecting toward the medial side of the foot is the attachment of the plantar calcaneonavicular ligament, which provides spring and elasticity to the arch.
Talus One of the major bones of the ankle.
Tarsal The root of the foot or instep, consisting of the hind – and midfoot, and including the calcaneus, talus, navicular, cuboid and three cuneiform bones.
Tarsus Proximal (hind) segment of the foot (7 bones), ankle region.
Therapeutic Pertaining to the art of healing.
Thermoplastic Material becoming soft and capable of being molded when heated.
Thomas heel An anterior medial extension longer than the standard heel to add hindfoot or midfoot support medially.
Throat Entrance of the shoe where vamp and quarters usually meet.
Tibia The medial and larger bone of the lower leg.
Tibialis anterior It is the primary foot and ankle dorsiflexor.
Tibialis posterior Contributes to the conversion of the flexible foot to a rigid one, but primarily in the normal situation acts as the hindfoot stabilizer.
Toe box Reinforcement used to retain the original contour of the toe and guard the foot against trauma or abrasion.
Toe crest Convex cushion under the sulcus.
Toe spring Space between the outer sole and horizontal treading surface measured vertically at the toe, allowing rocker effect for shoe function.
Toplift Replaceable outer layer of a shoe heel.
Transverse Lying across from side to side.
Transverse arch The arch formed by the metatarsal bones, 1-5.
Transverse plane Any plane which divides the body into superior and inferior portions.  Transverse plane motion and position are adduction and abduction.
Ulcer An open lesion upon the skin or mucous surface with loss of substance. 
Unilateral Affecting or occurring on only one side.
Valgus Foot bent out, towards midline.
Vamp Forepart of the shoe upper over the metatarsal shafts.
Varus Foot being in, away from midline.
Ventral On or close to anterior or lower surface.
Wedge Tapered leather, rubber or other material used to elevate one side of the sole and/or heel.
Wedging Insertion of wedges inside the shoe or on the sole and/or heel; posting.
Width Linear measurement from the medial to lateral border of the shoe.