The A to Z

Browse for the key concepts in the footcare sector


0-9   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

Obesity

Obesity is a term used to describe somebody who is very overweight with a high degree of body fat.

There are a number of ways a person's weight can be assessed. The most widely used method is body mass index.

Being obese increases your risk of developing a number of serious and potentially life-threatening diseases, such as:

  • type 2 diabetes 
  • heart disease 
  • some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and colon cancer
  • stroke

In addition, obesity can damage your quality of life and can often trigger depression.

Source: NHS choices


Osteoarthritis of the Foot and Ankle

Osteoarthritis is a condition characterized by the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in one or more joints. Cartilage (the connective tissue found at the end of the bones in the joints) protects and cushions the bones during movement. When cartilage deteriorates or is lost, symptoms develop that can restrict one’s ability to easily perform daily activities.

Osteoarthritis is also known as degenerative arthritis, reflecting its nature to develop as part of the aging process. As the most common form of arthritis, osteoarthritis affects millions of Americans. Some people refer to osteoarthritis simply as arthritis, even though there are many different types of arthritis.

Osteoarthritis appears at various joints throughout the body, including the hands, feet, spine, hips, and knees. In the foot, the disease most frequently occurs in the big toe, although it is also often found in the midfoot and ankle.

Source: www.foothealthfacts.org


Osteomyelitis (Bone Infection)

Osteomyelitis (an infection of the bone) can be caused by a variety of microbial agents (bacteria, fungus), the most common of which is staphylococcus aureus.

This serious infection can occur from a number of sources:

• It may enter bone through an injury, such as an open fracture with the bone ends piercing the skin.
• It can spread from elsewhere in the body or through the bloodstream.
• It can result from a chronic foot wound or infection, such as a diabetic ulcer.

To diagnose the condition, the foot and ankle surgeon will examine the area and may order blood tests and x-rays or other imaging studies. Treatment options include surgery and antibiotic therapy.

Source: www.foothealthfacts.org


Osteoporosis (Osteopenia)

Osteoporosis, which means “porous bone,” is a condition in which bones become weak and thin due to lack of calcium. People with osteoporosis have an increased risk of bone fractures (breaks).

Osteoporosis is often called the “silent disease” because many people do not realize they have it. However, pain can occur when a bone becomes so weak that it breaks.

Osteoporosis is most commonly seen in women over age 50, but younger people and men can also have it. While the bones of the spine, hip, and wrist are the most common bones to become fractured as a result of osteoporosis, metatarsals and other bones in the feet can be affected. In fact, some people first find out they have osteoporosis because of a fracture in the foot.

Increased pain with walking, accompanied by redness and swelling on the top of the foot, is a sign that you should see a foot and ankle surgeon for x-rays and examination.

Source: www.foothealthfacts.org


Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.)

Commonly referred to as “poor circulation,” Peripheral Arterial Disease (P.A.D.) is the restriction of blood flow in the arteries of the leg. When arteries become narrowed by plaque (the accumulation of cholesterol and other materials on the walls of the arteries), the oxygen-rich blood flowing through the arteries cannot reach the legs and feet.

The presence of P.A.D. may be an indication of more widespread arterial disease in the body that can affect the brain, causing stroke, or the heart, causing a heart attack.

Source: www.foothealthfacts.org


Peripheral neuropathy

Over time, the high blood sugar levels associated with diabetes can damage the nerves. This type of nerve damage is known as diabetic polyneuropathy.

If the peripheral nerves become damaged it can cause the following symptoms:

  • numbness and tingling in the feet and hands
  • a burning, stabbing or shooting pain
  • loss of co-ordination in the affected body parts
  • muscle weakness

Over time, diabetic polyneuropathy can cause a diabetic foot ulcer (an open sore that develops in the foot). If the ulcer becomes infected, there is a risk that the foot tissue will begin to die and it may be necessary to amputate the foot.

Source: NHS choices


Ram's-horn nails

These toenails have become so overgrown, they are impossible to cut with conventional nail clippers. This nail disorder is known as onychogryphosis ('ram's horn nails') and tends to be seen in older people. Regular chiropody can help, but sometimes the nails need to be removed by a podiatrist or doctor.

Source: NHS choices


Tingly Feet

“Tingly feet" can be a sign of nerve loss. The nerves in the feet come from the lower back. Pressure or chemical change in the nerve can cause a tingling sensation in the feet. Any sensation that is out of the ordinary can be an early sign of neurologic or vascular problems. In addition to tingling, feet may feel numb or feel like they are "falling asleep." There may also be a burning sensation in the feet.

Diabetes is one of the most common medical conditions with which "tingly feet" can be associated. A thorough evaluation by a foot and ankle surgeon is advised to determine the cause of "tingly feet."

Source: www.foothealthfacts.org


Ulcer (diabetic)

If diabetes is not correctly controlled, it can lead to nerve damage in the feet and legs called neuropathy. This means that people with diabetes are more likely to get foot ulcers as they have a reduced sensation of pain in their feet and the nerve damage may mean that skin cannot properly repair itself.

The slightest injury, such as blisters or cuts, can develop into an ulcer. Foot ulcers can be treated successfully if caught early, but if left untreated the consequences can be serious.

Source: NHS choices


Warts and verrucas

Warts vary in appearance depending on where they are on the body and how thick the skin is. They can develop in isolation or in clusters and are non-cancerous.

Some warts are more likely to affect particular areas of the body. For example, verrucas are warts that usually develop on the soles of the feet.

Most people will have warts at some point in their life. They tend to affect children and teenagers more than adults.

Source: NHS choices


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