Clubfoot Dictionary

Researching clubfoot and understanding the various correction methods for it proved challenging in the beginning because there were so many medical terms we didn't understand. Once we understood the terms, the literature was easier to read and we were able to make a decision on which method of treatment would be best for our son. We hope that  this list of terms will be helpful to you.

abduction the outward movement of the foot, away from the midline of the body
abduct to draw the foot away from the midline of the body
adductus the inward turned state of a clubfoot
adduction the movement of the foot towards the midline of the body (i.e. turning inwards)
anterior nearer to the front
atrophy wasting away through lack of use (or nourishment)
atypical clubfoot (same as 'complex clubfoot'); severe, rigid clubfoot, with a short and hyper-extended big toe and deep crease above the heel and on the sole of the foot
bilateral both feet are affected (whereas only one foot is affected with unilateral clubfoot)
calcaneous the "heel bone"; largest bone in the heel
complex clubfoot usually short and chubby, stiff feet with a deep crease in the sole of the foot and behind the ankle, and short and hyperextended big toe.
congenital present at birth (i.e. not a deformity that occured after birth)
congenital talipes equinovarus a deformity of the foot and ankle which present at birth, where the foot points downwards and inwards
contracture permanent shortening of a muscle or of fibrous tissue
dorsi-flexion movement that flexes the foot or toes upwards
equinovarus from "equinus" and "varus", meaning a foot that points downwards and inwards
eversion movement of the underside of a bone away from the midline of the body
flexion bending/moving of joints
forefoot the broad front 1/3 section of the foot, including the metatarsals and phalanges
hindfoot the back 1/3 of the foot; heel area
idiopathic resulting spontaneously; due to an obscure or unknown cause; baby is otherwise healthy and normal apart from the clubfeet
inversion the movement of a bone whereby the underside moves towards the midline of the body
ipsilateral on the same side of the body
lateral border the outer sides of the foot
medial middle; situated near the median plane of the body
medial creases creases visible on the inner edge of the foot
metatarsus the group of bones in the foot between the ankle section and toes
metatarsus adductus a deformity of the midfoot, in which the midfoot turns inwards towards the midline of the body. This comes right on its own or with massage, and only very seldom needs intervention to correct it
midfoot middle 1/3 of the foot; between the heel and toes
orthosis from the Greek meaning "make straight"; an orthopaedic device/appliance designed to straighten/support/or correct an orthopaedic problem
orthotic same as orthosis
percutaneous (procedure done) through the skin (as with a tenotomy)
plantar-flexion movement of the foot that flexes the foot or toes downwards
plantar-flexed pointing downwards
plantigrade when the entire bottom of the foot touches the ground
posterior back
pronation rotation of the foot so that it faces downwards
pronate to turn/rotate the foot inward and downward so that the inner edge of the foot is what bears the weight of the when walking
sole of the foot under-surface of the foot
plantigrade this is how humans walk, we step with the entire bottom of our foot touching the ground
talipes ankle and foot
talipes cavus a deformity of the foot where the arch is exaggerated
talipes equinovarus a deformity of the foot where the foot has both talipes equinus (points downwards) and talipes varus (points inwards/inverted)
talus "ankle bone"
TendoAchilis Achilles Tendon
tenotomy lengthening of a tendon, in this case the tight Achilles Tendon
torsion twisting
unilateral only one foot is affected
varus where the heel angles/rocks inwards so that the foot appears to rest on its outer edge rather than the sole of the foot



  • AFO - ankle-foot orthosis
  • ATTT - anterior tibial tendon transfer surgery
  • BCF - bilateral clubfoot
  • CF - clubfoot
  • CTEV - congenital talipes equinovarus
  • DBB - Dennis-Browne Brace
  • FAB - Foot Abduction Brace
  • KAFO - knee-ankle-foot orthosis (orthotics)
  • MA - metatarsus adductus
  • PT - physical therapy



  Disclaimer: This is not a medical site.
All content is from a mother's perspective and understanding. I believe all content to be accurate, but am not a medical doctor.

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