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Glossary of Terms


Abnormal Foot Structure

It is estimated is that more than 80% of us are born with an inherited misalignment of our lower limb bones. We will screen for these during your foot health check  and address if needed.


Bunions and Hammer/Clawing Toes

Osteoarthritis can affect the joints in the feet, making the toes deformed and difficult to fit into footwear.


Corns and Calluses

Altered biomechanics, arthritic changes or swelling of the feet can make footwear tight and uncomfortable, causing friction that leads to corns and calluses developing.

Curling Toes

Sometimes an inherited peculiarity, curling toes are often caused by abnormal pressures from shoes or hosiery or by abnormal foot function. If the latter, it can be addressed with orthotics.

We offer any child under the age of 16 an initial free foot health check (this is subject to availability – a maximum two per day).


Dry Skin

The skin on the feet and shins thins out and becomes dry, making it more likely to be easily damaged and difficult to heal. Characteristically, nutrition needs to be reviewed.


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Flat Feet

Prior to 3-4 years of age, it is quite normal for a child to have flat feet. An arch should form if they go onto tiptoes. If not, it may indicate a need for some type of intervention such as insoles or exercises. Not all cases are in need of treatment, but every child should be assessed to see if there are any indications for treatment.

Frequency Specific Microcurrent

Frequency-specific microcurrent (FSM) is a technique for treating pain by using low-level electrical current. The current is delivered to certain parts of the body in an attempt to relieve the pain.

A frequency is the rate at which a sound wave or electronic pulse is produced. This measurement is registered in hertz (Hz). In using FSM to treat pain, it’s been found that various frequencies can be used to potentially reduce inflammation (swelling), repair tissue and reduce pain. Find out more here.

Fungal Nails

Fungus can thrive in damaged nails. When nails thicken, they can be more susceptible to fungus. Those with diabetes are also more prone to this condition due to raised glucose levels.


Growth plate (Epiphyseal plate)

Etymology: Greek: epi, meaning above; phyein, meaning to grow, and platys, meaning flat. It is a thin layer of cartilage between the epiphysis, a secondary bone-forming center, and the bone shaft. The new bone forms along the plate. Epiphyseal plates remain open until late adolescence. Also called growth plate.

Medical Dictionary, © 2009 Farlex and Partners


Heel pain (Sever’s Disease)

As we get older, the fatty padding under our feet thins and our skin loses its elasticity. Walking can become more painful as our joints are not as cushioned from the ground we are walking on.


A strategy used for problem-solving, learning, and discovery that is experience-based. When an exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods may be used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution. A heuristic is sometimes referred to as a rule of thumb.


Ingrowing Nails

When the nail plate digs into the flesh at the side of the nail, often penetrating it and allowing subsequent infection to get in. Common causes are:

      1) Poor nail cutting
      2) Picking at the nails
      3) Tight socks/baby grows
      4) Tight shoes
      5) Poor foot function leading to abnormal forces and pressure
      6) Genetics

Insoles are flat, soft devices that go into your shoe to improve comfort through cushioning.


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Knee Pain

There is a direct link between the way the foot and the knee function and either can cause the other problems. Knee pain in a child or youth should always be taken seriously especially if occurring in the area of the growth plate of the bones (an area of softer bone where new, hard bone is laid down at the borders).


Leg Length Discrepancy

One leg longer than the other is a common issue that can have far-reaching complications either at the foot end or higher in the body such as the back and shoulders.

Low-Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Low-level laser therapy (LLLT) is a medical procedure used to treat pain and speed up wound healing. This treatment uses low-level lasers to alter the healing process at a cellular level. While it is not exactly clear how low-level laser therapy works, it is thought to diminish inflammation by reducing the number of cellular chemicals and enzymes linked to pain and inflammation. Find out more here.


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Swollen Feet

Caused by many factors such as cardiac problems and varicose veins, swollen feet can cause blood to pool in the legs and ankles. Often, feet will feel tired and heavy, or cold if the circulation is reduced.


Thicker Toenails

Toenails tend to become thicker and more yellow and discoloured from reduced circulation in the toes, which are the extremity furthest away from the heart. Repeated trauma from footwear also causes the nails to thicken.



An ulcer is a breakdown of the skin on an area of the foot. It can develop quickly and may be painful and difficult to heal. Ulcers often come as a result of callus or corns being allowed to build up hard skin and resulting in extreme pressure squeezing the tissues in the affected area which become starved of nutrients and oxygen. The local tissues then die off. Infection is a common complication. Sometimes we may advise you that it is important to have an X-ray to determine whether the infection has penetrated to the bone. Ulcers can happen to anyone but are more likely in people with diabetes.

Some likely causes:

  • Biomechanical issues leading to areas of high pressure
  • Poorly controlled and undiagnosed diabetes mellitus
  • Vascular insufficiency
  • Lack of sensation
  • Trauma

What can we do for you?

  • Perform a physical examination
  • Offload the area with pads or insoles
  • Perform debridement and wound care
  • Arrange laboratory tests
  • Referral to our Irrefutable Health multi-disciplinary team
  • Advise X-ray evaluation
Wolff’s Law

Wolff’s law is a theory developed by the German anatomist and surgeon Julius Wolff (1836-1902) in the 19th century. It states that bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed.[1] If loading on a particular bone increases, the bone will remodel itself over time to become stronger to resist that sort of loading.[2] The internal architecture of the trabeculae undergoes adaptive changes, followed by secondary changes to the external cortical portion of the bone,[3]perhaps becoming thicker as a result. The inverse is true as well: if the loading on a bone decreases, the bone will become weaker due to turnover, it is less metabolically costly to maintain and there is no stimulus for continued remodeling that is required to maintain bone mass[4].


Verrucae (plural for a verruca)

A verruca is a viral infection marked by a wart on the foot. It can be caught easily by children, particularly if their feet are in contact with the ground where a person with warts has walked. Places such as sports changing rooms are often blamed.


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Do you have questions about regaining your foot health? Contact our helpful, friendly team today!

Irrefutable Health | (020) 8945 3701 | Podiatry