The A to Z

Browse for the key concepts in the footcare sector


All   A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Charcot Foot

Charcot foot is a condition causing weakening of the bones in the foot that can occur in people who have significant nerve damage (neuropathy). The bones are weakened enough to fracture, and with continued walking the foot eventually changes shape. As the disorder progresses, the joints collapse and the foot takes on an abnormal shape, such as a rocker-bottom appearance.

Charcot foot is a very serious condition that can lead to severe deformity, disability, and even amputation. Because of its seriousness, it is important that patients with diabetes—a disease often associated with neuropathy—take preventive measures and seek immediate care if signs or symptoms appear.



As the name suggests, chilblains develop as a response to cold. They often appear on your extremities – such as your nose, earlobes, fingers and toes – which tend to be more vulnerable to the cold. Chilblains tend to be very itchy and may be accompanied by a burning sensation.

Chilblains start as red lumps that can be painful and tender, and sometimes these lumps can blister. Chilblains will typically last about seven days and will heal on their own. However, if a blister or ulcer forms, there is a risk of infection. Some people will get chilblains each winter and should take extra care to keep their extremities as warm as possible.

Source: NHS choices

Claw toes

A claw toe is a toe deformity consisting in the over-flexion of the proximal and distal interphalangeal joints.

Claw toes are caused by the dysfunction of the extensor and flexor tendons of toes, thus producing an imbalance in the normal functioning of structures and resulting in an abnormal, claw-like position of the toes.

This condition is sometimes painful and leads to skin injuries caused by friction of toe bone protuberances against footwear.

There are different types of medical treatment, such as the removal of skin injuries with a scalpel blade, the use of silicone protective pads or orthotics to compensate for muscle imbalance.

Source: Instituto Valenciano del Pie

Corns and calluses

Corns and calluses are areas of hard skin on the feet caused by excessive pressure or shoes rubbing.

Corns are usually small and circular. Hard corns tend to develop on the bumpiest parts of the foot and soft corns develop between the toes where sweat keeps them moist. Calluses are wider and less well-defined and will often develop on the parts of the foot that take the most weight, such as the ball of the foot.

If they cause discomfort, corns and calluses can be treated by a podiatrist, who can cut away thickened skin. Choosing insoles or more comfortable shoes may also help.

Source: NHS choices

Cracked Heels

There are many potential causes of "cracked heels." Dry skin (xerosis) is common and can get worse with wearing open-back shoes, increased weight, or increased friction from the back of shoes. Dry cracking skin can also be a subtle sign of more significant problems, such as diabetes or loss of nerve function (autonomic neuropathy).

Heels should be kept well moisturized with a cream to help reduce the cracking. If an open sore is noted, make an appointment with a foot and ankle surgeon for evaluation and treatment.


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