Chiropractic and Podiatry terms explained.

A - E

Adhesive Capsulitis

More commonly known as “Frozen Shoulder” this condition involves pain and restriction of the ball and socket joint of the shoulder due to contractures of the joint capsule. The stiffening may progress over many months before it reaches the “frozen” stage, when there is typically pain with shoulder movements, and it may be 2 years before it resolves.


A Chiropractic adjustment is a specific form of manipulation of any joint in the body with specific contacts, characterised by controlled force, speed and direction. It may reduce joint restrictions, muscle spasm, pain and increase function.

Athletes foot

A fungal infection of the skin of the feet affecting the sole and between the toes.


Condition characterised by excessive odour of the feet often due to elevated levels of bacterial activity.


An enlargement of the large toe joint often associated with pain.


An abnormal area of hard skin, often caused by pressure and friction.

Cerviogenic headaches

A type of headache where pain is referred into the head from structures in the neck or shoulders.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

A disorder caused by compression of the nerves passing through carpal tunnel at the palmer surface of the wrist. This may cause tingling, numbness, weakness and or pain into the palm and wrist.


A type of primary healthcare that is involved in the diagnosis, treatment and management of conditions due to joints, ligaments, tendons and nerves. Chiropractors are registered and regulated by the General Chiropractic Council in the UK. They use their hands to “adjust” or “manipulate” joints, and have a wide range of manual techniques to treat patients.


pain or discomfort in the area of the coccyx or “tailbone” at the base of the spine.


A dense area of dead skin usually situated in the centre of an area of callous and caused by specific pressure and friction on an internal prominence.


Cryosurgery uses liquid nitrogen or nitrous oxide to free a verruca.


The theraputic use of ice to reduce pain and inflammation.

Degenerative disc disease

A condition where intervertebral discs of the spine lose their structural integrity. This may include a loss of space between vetebra, derangement, and herniation. Bony changes to other parts of the spine start to appear to try to stabilize the spine, including osteophyte formation. Causes include aging, repetitative loading/impact or trauma.

Disc herniation

Often misleadingly referred to as a “slipped disc”, this condition may occur when damage to the tough outer ring of a spinal disc allows it’s soft central portion to buldge out. This can result in compression on the spinal cord and/or the nerve roots. Symptoms may include intense pain, numbness, tingling, and weakness.


Bending the top of the foot (the dorsum) upwards towards the knee.

F - J

Facet joint

Also known as a “zygapophyseal joint”, these joints are the points of articulation between adjacent vertebrae. They allow for some mobility in the spine whilst limiting excessive movement. They are one source of neck and back pain and can refer pain into the shoulders, arms, buttocks and legs. Their function may be affected by aging, injury, instability, osteoarthritis and surgery.

Flat foot

Flattening of the arch running along the inside of the length of the foot.

Fungal nails

See Onychomycosis.

Golfers elbow

Also known as “medial epicondylitis” this overuse injury involves painful inflammation of the muscles and tendons that flex the wrist at their attachment on the humerous bone of the elbow. Swinging a golf club is one just action that may repetitively stress these tissues, but there are other actions and injuries that may cause the condition.


Big toe.

Hallux Rigiditus

Gradual loss of flexibility of the big toe joints leading to a rigid joint.

Hallux valgus

Outward displacement of the large toe often associated with a bunion.

Hammer toe

Gradual curling of a toe or toes often due to wearing loose footwear over a number of years requiring the toes to ‘grip’ the shoe to hold it on the foot leading to a shortening of the tendon on the underside and a curled or hammer toe.

Heel pain

Numerous possible causes but most commonly over pronation and plantar faciitis. Also known as policeman’s heel.

Heel spur

Occasionally a bony growth can form on the underside of the heel bone causing pain.


Condition of the foot characterised by abnormal levels of sweating


An abnormally rapid keratinization thickening of the skin of the feet, usually in pressure areas.

Ingrowing toenail or ingrown toenail

Where the nail grows into the sulcus or nail groove causing pain and possibly infection. Often due to trauma or poor nail cutting.

Joint dysfunction

Abnormal function and or movement of a joint. This may lead to problems with the joint itself, or secondary problems with other joints, nerves or soft tissues (such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, fascia etc).

Joint fixation

Abnormal stiffness and lack of movement that may be due to joint adhesions, mal-alignment fusion of bones, scar tissue, and increased muscular contractions or spasm. Chiropractors can use specific techniques to help detect and restore normal movement and function to fixated joints.

K - O

Long bone

A bone that is greater in length than width e.g. metatarsals and phalanges.


5 Long bones of the middle of the foot.

Migraine headaches

These headaches may last between 4 – 72hrs without effective treatment, they tend to be one-sided, cause moderate to severe pain intensity, and may affect normal activities (such as walking). Other possible symptoms included excessive sensitivity to light and sound, nausea or vomiting, and visual disturbances.

Morton’s Neuroma

Abnormal, benign enlarging of the nerve between the third and fourth toes of the foot. Usually requires surgery to resolve.


See “Adjustment”.


Manually increasing the mobility of joints and tissues without the use of high-speed, thrusting manoeuvers.

Myofacial pain

A common type of pain that may originate from muscles and soft tissues, responsible for many cases of chronic (persistent) musculoskeletal pain. This may include local or referred pain, tension, decreased range of motion, and weakness.


Fungal infection of the nail.


Specialist insole used for the correction of biomechanical problems of the foot.

Osgood Schlatters disease

Growing pains below the knee and up the front of the thigh in adolescent children caused by the femur growing in length faster than the muscles that run along it – see ‘fact sheets’

P - T

Pes Planus

Flat foot. See flat foot.


14 Long bones in each foot (and hand) forming the toes (and fingers). 2 in the big toe (or thumb) and 3 in each of the others.

Pitting keratolysis

Bacterial infection of keratinized cells of the sole of the foot. Has the appearance of small holes or the surface of a cauliflower when wet.

Plantar faciitis

Inflammation (itis) of the tissues (fascia) of the sole of the foot (plantar). Hence plantar faciitis. Characterised by pain – often radiating from the heel – and a feeling of burning especially after a prolonged period of standing or walking. Pain often worse after resting and first thing in the morning on rising – see ‘fact sheets.


Bending the underside of the foot (the plantar aspect) downwards away from the knee.


Rolling the foot inwards along its long axis resulting in a flattening of the inner arch.

Sacroilliac joint

A pair of these joints, also known as the “SI joints”, are the points of articulation between the boney pelvis and sacrum at the base of the spine. These joints are believed to be responsible for a significant proportion of lower back pain.

Severs disease

Posterior heel pain due to inflammation of the attachment point of the achilles tendon in adolescent children, usually boys active in sports such as football. Often occurs during growth spurts when the bones grow more quickly than the muscles leading to overstretching – see ‘fact sheets’

Shin splints

Characterised by pain up either side of the front of the lower leg. Also known as anterior/medial compartment syndrome. Often caused by over exercise or a sudden change in exercise routine – see ‘facts sheets’


Fleshy groove in which the egde of the nail rests as it grows down the toe.


Rolling the foot outwards along its long axis throwing the weight of the foot onto the outer border.


7 Short bones of the ankle.

U - Z


Viral infection of the skin. Same as a wart.


Same as a verruca. See verruca – see ‘fact sheets’


Dry, cracked heels.