Foot and Ankle Terminology

Overuse injuries of the lower extremity can be caused by multiple factors including abnormal foot and ankle biomechanics.  One of the difficulties of communication among medical professionals is the lack of standard nomenclature when discussing foot and ankle biomechanics. Below is the recommended terminology as developed by the Practice Committee of the Foot & Ankle Special Interest Group.
 


STRUCTURE

REARFOOT
Talus and Calcaneus

MIDFOOT
Navicular, Cuboid and Cuneiform

FOREFOOT
Metatarsals and Phalanges

TIBIO-FIBULAR VARUS
a structural position of the leg in which the distal aspect of the tibia/fibula is closer to the midline in comparison to the proximal aspect.

CALCANEAL (SUBTALAR) VARUS
a structural position of the calcaneus in which the distal aspect of the calcaneus is inverted in comparison to the proximal aspect

REARFOOT VARUS
a structural position of the leg and calcaneus combining the measurements of tibio-fibular varus and calcaneal varus

FOREFOOT VARUS
a structural position in which the second, third and fourth metatarsal heads are inverted relative to the plane of the calcaneal condyles with the subtalar joint in a neutral position and the midtarsal joint fully pronated

FOREFOOT VALGUS
a structural position in which the second, third, and fourth metatarsal heads are everted relative to the plane of the calcaneal condyles with the subtalar joint in a neutral position and the midtarsal joint fully pronated

FOREFOOT ABDUCTUS
a structural position in which the forefoot is displaced away from the midline

FOREFOOT ADDUCTUS
a structural position in which the forefoot is displaced toward the midline

PLANTAR-FLEXED FIRST RAY
the first metatarsal and medial cuneiform are plantar-flexed in relation to the other four rays

DORSIFLEXED FIRST RAY
the first metatarsal and medial cuneiform are dorsiflexed in relation to the other four rays
 


MOTION

SAGITTAL PLANE MOTION

DORSIFLEXION
motion in the sagittal plane in which the distal aspect of the foot moves toward the leg

PLANTAR FLEXION
motion in the sagittal plane in which the distal aspect of the foot moves away from the leg
 

FRONTAL (CORONAL) PLANE MOTION

INVERSION
motion in the frontal plane in which the plantar surface of the foot is tilted toward the midline of the body

EVERSION
motion in the frontal plane in which the plantar surface of the foot is tilted away from midline of the body
 

TRANSVERSE PLANE MOTION

ABDUCTION
motion in the transverse plane in which the distal aspect of the fool rotate away from the midline of the body

ADDUCTION
motion in the transverse plane in which the distal aspect of the foot rotates toward the midline of the body
 

TRI-PLANE MOTION

SUPINATION
a tri-plane motion consisting of a combination of plantar flexion, inversion, and adduction

PRONATION
a tri-plane motion consisting of a combination of a dorsiflexion) eversion, and abduction



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