Glossary

Arch - The arch of the foot is the area of the bottom of the foot between the heel pad and toe pad.

Acrokeratosis verruciformis - a hereditary dermatosis characterized by the presence of numerous flat wart-like papules on the dorsal aspect of the hand, foot, elbow, and knee.

Ankle - the part of the leg just above the foot; the joint between the leg and the foot. It is a hinge joint formed by the junction of the tibia and fibula with the talus, or ankle bone. The bones are cushioned by cartilage and connected by a number of ligaments, tendons, and muscles that strengthen the joint and enable it to be moved. Because it is in almost constant use, the ankle is particularly susceptible to injuries, such as sprain and fracture. It is also often one of the first joints to be affected by arthritis or gout.

Ankle clonus - a series of abnormal reflex movements of the foot, induced by sudden dorsiflexion, causing alternate contraction and relaxation of the triceps surae muscle.

Athlete's foot - a fungal infection of the skin of the foot; called also tinea pedis. It causes itching and often blisters and cracks, usually between the toes. Causative agents are Candida albicans, Epidermophyton floccosum, and species of Trichophyton, which thrive on warmth and dampness. If not arrested, it can cause a rash and itching in other parts of the body as well. It is likely to be recurrent, since the fungus survives under the toenails and reappears when conditions are favorable. Although Athlete''s foot is usually little more than an uncomfortable nuisance, its open sores provide excellent sites for more serious infections. Early treatment and health care supervision insure correct diagnosis and prevention of complications. Specific diagnosis is made by microscopic examination or culture of skin scrapings for the fungus.

There are many kinds of cancers of the foot. Some take the form of cysts and lesions, while others are more widespread.

Malignant melanoma is a skin cancer that is curable if caught early. Although it makes up only one percent of skin cancers, malignant melanoma accounts for over 60 percent of skin cancer deaths. It is estimated that approximately 30 percent of melanomas occur in the lower extremities, and that 3 percent occur in the feet.

Neoplastic disorders, usually called tumors, are the result of abnormal growth of tissue. Both benign or malignant tumors occur in the foot.

Osteochondromas are benign bone tumors under the toenail. Osteochrondromas account for about half of all benign bone tumors in the foot, occurring mostly in children and young adults. Unless they cause irritation to the surrounding tissue, they are generally not very painful. Sometimes, they can deform the toenail and cause an ingrown toenail. In rare cases, they are removed surgically.

A plantar fibroma is a benign tissue tumor or growth on the plantar, or bottom surface of the foot. Unlike plantar warts, which grow on the skin, these grow deep inside on a thick fibrous band called the plantar fascia. There are a number of nonsurgical measures for treating plantar fibromas, such as orthotics. When these conservative measures fail to provide adequate relief of symptoms, surgical removal is a reasonable option.

Giant cell tumors are benign tumors of the tendon sheath. These masses are generally found on the toes, top of the foot, or sides of the foot. They can also occur deep inside the foot. They are firm irregular masses that are typically painful.




Sterling and Gaston