There are a lot of medical terms and phrases that might be confusing for patients dealing with foot or ankle pain. Educating yourself on some of these basic terms can help you better understand your condition and treatment options. In this article, we are going to define 5 essential foot and ankle medical terms you should know.

Ankle Instability

Chronic, repetitive sprains of the ankle. This can be due to an injury that never healed properly but can also be due to weak ankle ligaments or a heel that tilts inward (varus heel).

Ankle Tendonitis

Inflammation of a tendon. Most cases of tendonitis are caused by some type of injury, overuse or a mechanical abnormality in the foot or ankle. Treatment depends on the specific tendon involved, the extent of involvement and the length of time the symptoms have been present.

Ankle Arthritis

Arthritis typically refers to the wearing away of joint surfaces. Arthritis falls into one of three categories: Osteoarthritis is primary arthritis of the joint and may be related to family history. Traumatic arthritis is arthritis that develops after injury to a joint. Inflammatory arthritis occurs when a disease affecting the patient causes the cartilage to wear away. Treatment is dependent on the cause and extent of the arthritis and may include medication, bracing, physical therapy or surgery.

Tibialis Anterior Tendon

The function of the tibialis anterior is to move the ankle upwards. It stabilizes the foot in the latter part of the stance phase of gait and extends the foot at the beginning and middle portions of the swing phase of gait.

Ankle Cartilage

Cartilage is a living tissue that lines our joints. It is a matrix of proteins and collagen that is tough, absorbs shock and is very smooth. Healthy cartilage can, and often does, last our whole life without problems. Disease of the cartilage or trauma can cause the cartilage cells to die. Unlike most tissues in our body, joint cartilage cells do not reproduce themselves once our skeletons are fully grown.

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