Terminology

  • Achilles tendonitis: Achilles tendonitis involves inflammation of the Achilles tendon. If the tendon stays inflamed long enough, it can lead to thickening of the tendon. Sometimes nodules or bumps can form in the tendon. Achilles tendonitis can become a long term problem or can lead to rupture of the tendon
  • Airborne Phase: The phase of the gait cycle in which one or both feet is not on the ground
  • Arch: The structure between the ball of the foot and the heel on the medial side. Generally categorized as flat, normal, or high
  • Athlete's foot: Athlete's foot is a common skin condition that can affect everyone, not just athletes. It is caused by a fungus. It may cause redness, itchiness, tiny bumps filled with fluid or peeling skin. It is most commonly located between the toes or on the bottom of the feet.
  • Balance: The measure of weight distribution on the feet during the static phase
  • Corns and Callouses: Corns and callouses are areas of thick, hard skin. They usually develop due to rubbing or irritation over a boney prominence. The hard, thick skin is called a corn if it is on your toe and it is called a callous if it is somewhere else on your foot
  • Cushioning: The ability of a material to help disperse and/or dampen the shock experience during exercise
  • Flat Foot: Just because you have flat feet does not mean you will have problems or pain. If you do have pain, there are various treatment options available. If you only have one foot that has a flat arch, it may be due to another problem and you should get it checked out
  • Gait Cycle: The biomechanical motion consisting of two main phases, the airborne phase and the support phase; the support phase is further defined by heel strike, midstance and toe-off
  • Gait Line: The progressive centers of gravity during movement from heel to toe that denotes direction in the dynamic footprint
  • Hammer Toe: A hammer toe is also sometimes referred to as a claw toe or mallet toe. It involves a deformity of the toe where there is an imbalance in the pull of the tendons. Either the tendon on top of the toe pulls harder or the tendon on the bottom of the toe pulls harder. This results in a curling up of the toe
  • Heel Cup: An accessory item containing shock absorption material; it is added to a shoe to enhance the cushioning underneath the heel
  • Heel Gel Pad: An accessory item that is basically a smaller version of the heel cup adding shock absorption to a shoe
  • Heel Strike: Initial ground contact usually occurring in the heel; the first phase of the normal gait cycle
  • Ingrown Toenail: An ingrown toenail can occur for various reasons. The sides or corners of the toenail usually curve down and put pressure on the skin. Sometimes the toenail pierces the skin and then continues to grow into the skin. This may cause redness, swelling, pain and sometimes infection
  • Lateral: Toward the outside (little toe of the shoe)
  • Maximum Pressure Points: Where the foot bears the most weight
  • Medial: Toward the inside (big toe side)
  • Midfoot Surface Area: The existence of the midfoot or arch area
  • Midstance: the second stage of the support phase of the gait cycle when both the heel and forefoot are in contact with the striking phase
  • Motion Control: Added medial support built into a shoe (usually the midsole) to slow the rate at which the foot rolls inward
  • Motion Control Device: A support device built into a shoe (usually the midsole) to slow the rate at which the foot rolls inward
  • Neutral: the foot type in which the foot does not roll in or out excessively
  • Neuroma: In the foot, a neuroma is a nerve that becomes irritated and swells up. If the nerve stays irritated, it can become thickened which makes the nerve larger and causes more irritation. Pain from a neuroma is usually felt on the ball of your foot
  • Overpronation: excessive "rolling in" of the foot as a person passes through his/her gait
  • Plantar Fasciitis: When there is increased stress on the arch, microscopic tears can occur within the plantar fascia, usually at its attachment on the heel. This results in inflammation and pain with standing and walking and sometimes at rest. It usually causes pain and stiffness on the bottom of your heel. 
  • Posting: The use of a firmer material (usually midsole material) to slow foot motion in the rear or middle of the midsole, usually to limit rolling in
  • Pressure Points: Any points of contact whether light or heavy, used to evaluate cushioning and motional control needs
  • Support: The ability or lack of ability of footwear to control motion whether rolling in or rolling out
  • Support Phase: the phase at which a particular foot is on the ground thereby bearing the entire body weight on that one foot
  • Toe-Off: The final stage in the support phase of the gait cycle
  • Underpronation: The foot tends to "roll out" toward the lateral side of the foot
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