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.

A neuroma is an abnormality of a nerve that has been damaged either by trauma or as a result of an abnormality of the foot. Neuromas occur most often in the ball of the foot, causing a pinched and inflamed nerve. In cases of chronic nerve pain from neuromas, surgery may be recommended.

During neuroma procedures, an incision is made on the top of the foot in the location of the neuroma, usually between the second and third toes or between the third and fourth toes. After the nerve is located, the surgeon cuts and removes it.

Neuroma surgery is generally performed on a same-day outpatient basis in the doctor's office or a surgery center using a local anesthetic. The incision will be covered with a dressing after the surgery, which must be kept dry until the sutures are removed, usually within 10 to 14 days after the surgery. Most patients are sent home with a surgical shoe, although crutches may be recommended in cases where the incision must be made on the bottom of the foot. Elevation and icing are important in the first few days following surgery to reduce swelling. Patients are generally restricted to limited walking until the sutures are removed. Generally, patients can return to normal shoe wear in about three weeks. The overall recovery time is usually four to six weeks.

 




Sterling and Gaston