Glossary of Terms

Abduction: Transverse plane movement, when the foot rotates laterally (away from midline)

Adduction: Transverse plane movement, when the foot rotates medially (toward the midline)

Biomechanics of the foot: The relationship between the foot and leg when a person is in motion

Bone: Hard substance that forms the framework of the body

Compensated: A change in the structural alignment or position of one part of the foot to neutralize the effect of a structural problem in another part of the foot

Compliance: The consistency and accuracy with which a patient follows the regiment prescribed by a clinician

Distal: Further from the heart

Dorsiflexion: Sagittal plane movement, when the foot moves upwards, towards the tibia

Dorsum Surface: Top of the foot

Eversion: Frontal plane movement, when the foot twists outward and downward (sole away from midline)

Extensor: Extends a joint and moves a limb away from the body (e.g. quadriceps)

Fascia: A broad connective tissue band serving a stabilization and supportive function (e.g. plantar fascia)

Flexor: Flexes a joint and brings a limb closer to the body (e.g. hamstring)

Forefoot: 19 bones: 5 metatarsals and 5 toes each with 3 phalanges (except the big toe with only 2)

Frontal Plane: Divides front and back

Gait: 
A manner of walking

Gait Cycle: Heel strike to heel strike (toe off to toe off) of the same foot

Hypermobility: Motion in a part of the foot that should remain stable when stress is applied to it.

Insertion: Distal end of the muscle origin that attaches to bone that does move when the muscle contracts (distal)

Inversion: Frontal plane movement, when the foot twists inward and upward (sole toward midline)

Lateral: Away from the midline

Ligament: Fibrous tissue that holds organs of the body in place and fastens bones together

Medial: Towards the midline

Midfoot: (5 bones) 3 cuneiforms (medial, middle & lateral); 1 cuboid (articulates with 4th & 5th metatarsals); 1 navicular (articulates with medial, middle, lateral cuneiforms)

Mobile Adaptor: Pronated foot; allows walking on uneven terrain. Also known as “loose bag of bones”

Muscle: Tough, elastic tissue that allows body parts to move

Origin: Proximal end of a muscle attached to bone that doesn’t move when the muscle contracts

Over-Pronation: Excessive, prolonged pronation

Periosteum: Fibrous membrane covering bones, conveying the blood vessels and nerves supplying the bone

Plantarflexion: Sagittal plane movement, when the foot moves downwards, away from the front of the tibia

Plantar Surface: Bottom of the foot

Pronated: An adjective which describes the position (abducted, dorsiflexed, everted) of the foot relative to the neutral position

Pronation: Tri-plane motion (eversion, dorsiflexion and abduction) that acts as a mobile adaptor or loose bag of bones (measured in degrees of eversion)

Proximal: Closer to the heart

Rearfoot (hindfoot): (2 bones) Talus (sits above the heel & articulates with navicular, moves medially); Calcaneus (articulates with cuboid and moves laterally)

Rigid lever: Supinated foot; locked midtarsal joint allows effective, efficient propulsion

Sagittal Plane: Divides left and right

Skeletal Muscle: Holds the bones of the skeleton together and allows the body to move

Supinated: An adjective which describes the position (adducted, plantarflexed, inverted) of the foot relative to the neutral position

Supination: Tri-plane motion (inversion, plantarflexion and adduction) that acts as a rigid lever (measured in degrees of inversion)

Tendon: Tough, flexible connective tissue that attaches skeletal muscles to bones

Transverse Plane: Divides top and bottom

Valgus: Fixed structural position in which the foot (or part of the foot) appears everted in the frontal plane

Varus: Fixed structural position in which the foot (or part of the foot) appears inverted in the frontal plane

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