Below is an alphabetical list of they key terms used throughout this website. Highlighted words in the text are linked to this page.
Achilles TendonThe tendon at the rear of the ankle that connects the calf muscle to
the calcaneum (see below).
ApexThe top of the arch of the foot.
ArchThe inside part of the foot.
Arthritis The inflammation of one or more joints. It has many varieties eg: rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis,etc.
CartilageA type of dense, connective tissue formed from collagen and/or
elastin fibres. It provides smooth surfaces for the movement of
articulating bones in the joints.
FibulaThe calf bone, located on the lateral side of the tibia (see below).
It is the shorter and more slender of the two bones, and is
connected at each end to the tibia.
Flat foot1. A painful condition in which the arch of the foot collapses and theheel moves inwards, obtained later in life if a tendon on the inside of
the foot fails.
2. A pain-free condition that some people have all their lives withoutany problems.
High Arched FootAlthough normal in some people, this condition can develop later inlife when overactive muscles and tendons in the subtalar joint pullthe arch of the foot upwards, sometimes causing pain.
InflammationThis is usually an area of swelling, featuring redness and pain as a
result of irritation, injury, of infection.
InflammatoryPain in the ball of the foot which is typically worse first thing in the
Metatarsalgiamorning and towards the end of the day, especially if you have been
active and go to get up after resting for a while.
InterphalangealAlso IP joint. This is the joint between any two phalanges of the toe.
LateralIn terms of the leg or foot, the outer side. ie: The side of the little
LigamentFibrous tissue that connects bone to bone. It is less elastic than
tendon and acts to limit joint movement. The lateral ankle ligaments
are commonly sprained or torn.
MechanicalPain in the ball of the foot which is worse on walking and standing metatarsalgiaand eased with rest. The patient often describes the pain as if
walking on a pebble.
MedialIn terms of the leg or foot, the inner side. ie: The side of the big toe.
Metataro-Also MTP joint. This is the junction of the small bone in the toe
phalangeal jointand the long bone in the forefoot.
MetatarsalsThese are the five long bones of the forefoot, and are numbered 1 to
5 from the medial (inner) side of the foot. They are each connected
to the two or three smaller bones that are the toes. The
metatarsals of the foot are the equivalents of the metacarpals of the
NeurogenicPain in the ball of the foot which often will shoot down into one of the
Metatarsalgiatoes. It is a typical unpleasant nerve pain and is caused by trapping
of the nerve between the metatarsals. It is associated with wearing
tight shoes and ski boots.
OsteoarthritisA type of arthritis (see above) caused by the breakdown and loss of
cartilage in the joints. It is caused by ageing or injury to the joint.
PhalanxPlural: phalanges. Small bone of the toe.
Each lesser toe has three phalnges, but the great toe only has two.
Plantar FasciaThe ligament structure that supports the arch of the foot. It runs
from the bottom of the heel bone to the base of the toes.
Plantar PlateActs like a check strap, securing the underneath of a toe'smetatarsal head to the proximal phalanx of the toe.
Sesamoid BonesSmall, seed-shaped bones that prevent friction where a tendon
passes over a bone. They develop within vulnerable tendons. The
most obvious example of a sesamoid bone is the patella, or
kneecap. The commonest in the foot are under the big toe joint.
TalusThe bone in the ankle joint that connects the leg to the heel andmidfoot. It is the second largest of the tarsal bones, and supportsthe tibia above whilst resting on the calcaneum below.
Tarso-metatarsalStiff, load-bearing joints where the metatarsal bones join to the rest
Jointsof the foot.
TendonA tough band of fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone. It is
built to withstand tension, so it is relatively inelastic in comparison
to a ligament. An example of a tendon is the Achilles Tendon, to the
rear of the ankle.
TibiaThe shin bone, located on the medial side of the fibula (see above).
It is the longer and wider of the two bones, and is connected at each
end to the fibula.