Pedorthic Terminology




ABduction: motion of a body part away from the midline of the body
ADduction: motion of a body part toward the midline of the body
Anterior: front, as front portion of a shoe or foot
Apex: the thickest aspect of a flare, metatarsal bar, or rocker sole


Balance: to support or arrange to equalize opposing forces
Bal, Balmoral: front laced shoe in which the meeting of the quarters and the vamp is stitched or continuous at the throat
Ball: width of the sole at the metatarsal heads
Ball Girth: circumferential measurement encompassing the first to the fifth metatarsal area.
Bilateral: pertaining to right and left sides
Biomechanics: the science of locomotion of the human body
Blind Eyelet: a metal or plastic eyelet concealed beneath the top surface of the shoe leaving only a small, rimless hole.
Blucher: front-laced shoe in which the quarters are not attached at the throat
Boot: high top: high-quarter shoe in which the quarters cover the malleoli
Bottom Filler: material that fills the cavity between the outer and inner soles
Break: creasing formed at the vamp of the shoe when the metatarsal-phalangeal joints are in dorsiflexion
Breathability: the ability to allow air exchange to the foot through the material of the shoe
Buttress: see stabilizer


Calfskin leather: skin from young male and female bovines; the whole skin is smaller than 25 square feet
Certified Pedorthist: an individual who has met certification criteria established by the Board for Certification in Pedorthics (BCP) and meets continuing education requirements
Chrome Tannage: using chrome salts to convert hides to leather
Chukka: three quarter Blucher boot with two or three eyelets
Closed Kinetic Chain: weightbearing; stance phase of gait cycle
Collar: narrow strip of material stitched around the topline of the shoe, sometimes padded
Combination Last:
last that deviates from standard proportions; the heel is two to three widths narrower than the ball in exact proportions.
Composition: various materials which are pulverized, compressed and held with a binder (adhesive) to form a sheet material for insoles, midsoles, heel bases, and other components
Conformability: ability of a material to mold to the shape of the foot
Cookie: longitudinal arch pad
Cork: made from the bark of the cork tree. Cork may be combined with other materials; available in various forms such as the sheet cork, natural cork, cushion cork, and thermo cork; different names are given to the cork according to the binders (adhesives) used
Counter, Long: counter extended distally; lateral counter is extended to the lateral metatarsal region; medial counter is extended to the medial metatarsal region
Crepe, Rubber: neoprene rubber (artificial latex) compounded for use as soles and heels
Custom molded shoe: shoe molded form a full dimensional cast of patient’s foot


Distal: farther from the central portion of the body; opposite of proximal
Dorsiflexion: movement of the foot upward toward the ankle in the sagittal plane of the body
Dorsum: top aspect of the foot
Doubler: interlining placed between the vamp and vamp lining for additional reinforcement
Dutchman: lateral sole wedge


Elevation: material added to the bottom of the shoe to adjust for limb length discrepancy
Eversion: motion away from the midline of the body; opposite of inversion


Flare: widened heel or sole base
Full Grain: outer surface of a hide with smooth skin intact


Girth: circumferential dimension measured around
the last
Glove Leather: leather tannage generally used for gloves an now used, with modifications, for some footwear uppers; has a soft feel and a dull, waxy surface
Goodyear Welt: shoemaking process in which a narrow strip of leather or other material is stitched in place to join the shoe upper to the inner and outer sole
Goring: elastic fabric inserted in the front or side(s)of an upper so that the opening expands to accommodate the foot


Heel Breast: anterior margin of heel
Heel Elevation: material added to the heel to accommodate equinus position or limb length discrepancy
Heel Height: vertical measurement from the plantar surface to the heel seat at the anterior or center surface of the heel, usually in eights of an inch
Spring Heel: 3/8 to 6/8 inch; heel base lies under the outer sole eliminating a definite heel breast
A. Flat heel: 6/8 to 10/8 inches
B. Military Heel: 10/8 to 13/8 inches
C. Cuban Heel: 13/8 to 14/8 inches
D. Wedge Heel: 4/8 to 14/8 inches; slopes upward from ball to posterior heel with no definite heel breast
Heel Pitch: vertical slant at the posterior aspect of the heel
Heel Seat: area of the shoe upon which the calcaneus rests
Heel, Thomas: heel with anteriorly extended medial border
Hindfoot: the tarsus region or back part of the foot


Inflare: last or shoe whose anterior region provides more medial than lateral surface area
Injection Molded: shoe construction whereby a heat-softened plastic is injected into a mold, then compressed against the mating surface of a concentric mold and allowed to cool and harden to form the sole and heel unit
Inlay: material or device inserted into the shoe
Inner Sole: material conforming to the size and shape of the last bottom upon which the foot rest, an insole
Instep: portion of the upper over the midfoot
Internal: inner part, as inside of a shoe
Inversion: motion toward the midline of the body; opposite of eversion
Iron: term used to represent 1/48 of an inch; used in measuring sole thickness, for example, six-iron sole is 1/8 inch thick


Lace Stay: portion of the upper containing eyelets for lacing
Lace-toToe: low or high quarter shoe laced to the toe
Last: model approximating the shape and size of the foot, over which a shoe is made; usually made of wood or plastic, or plaster
Lasting: fitting and shaping of the upper to the last
Last Systems: methods of sizing last dimensions: Arithmetic, Geometric, Dynametric, Europoint
Lasting Allowance: extra material on shoe patterns to fit around and under the bottom edge of the last; lasting margin
Lateral: pertaining to the side away from the midline of
the body
Length: dimension on the center of the last bottom from toe point to heel point
Levy Mold: full length inlay that conforms to contour of the plantar aspect of the foot
Littleway Construction: shoe construction involving a lock stitch in which the upper is fastened to the insole with staples
Longitudinal Arch: arc of hindfoot and midfoot from mid-calcaneus extending proximal to the first metatarsal head


Malleolus: bony prominence at the distal portion of the tibia an fibula
McKay Construction: shoe construction in which the upper is tacked, stapled, or cemented, and the sole is attached with chain stitches from inside the shoe through the insole and outsole
Medial: pertaining to the middle; toward the midline of
the body
Metatarsal Bar: rubber, leather, or synthetic bar applied transversely to the sole of the shoe with the apex immediately proximal to the metatarsal heads
Metatarsal Pad: a device placed proximal to the metatarsal heads to relieve pressure and redistribute weight
Midsole: sole placed between inner and outer sole


Negative Heel: heel whose plantar surface is lower or the same as the ball of the shoe
Neoprone: extremely durable, oil-resistant synthetic, rubber-like material used for outsoles, heels, and other components


Open Kinetic Chain: non-weightbearing; swing phase of gait cycle
Orthosis: supportive device for the body
Outflare: last or show whose anterior area provides more lateral than medial surface area
Outsole: bottom, ground-contacting portion of the shoe
Oxford: low-quarter, laced shoe


Pedorthics: the design, manufacture, modification and/or fit of footwear and related or orthotic devices
Plantar: bottom aspect of the foot
Plantarflexion: movement of the foot downward, away from the ankle in the sagittal plane
Platform: elevated sole
Polyurethane: plastic used for uppers, soles, top lifts, and other components of shoes; also used in construction of orthotic devices
Polyvinylchloride: thermoplastic material with various applications such as soles and heels; also known as PVC; can be used as a coating for uppers and linings
Posterior: back, as in the back portion of shoe or foot
Posting: wedging. Footcare professionals do not always agree on posting terminology; therefore good communication between prescriber and fabricator is especially important if the patient’s prescription involves posting.
Extrinsic Posting: modifications to the base of the orthoses
Intrinsic Posting: modifications sculpted into or added onto the positive model of the foot.
Medial Forefoot Posting: grinding the base of an orthoses so that the area at the first metatarsal head is thicker than the area at the fifth metatarsal; adding a wedge to an orthosis to increase the thickness a the first metatarsal head in its relationship to the fifth metatarsal head.
Lateral Forefoot Posting: grinding the base of an orthosis so that the area at the fifth metatarsal head is thicker than the area at the first metatarsal; adding a wedge to an orthosis to increase the thickness at fifth metatarasal head in its relationship to the first metatarsal head
Medial Heel Posting: grinding the base of an orthosis or adding to an orthosis to elevate the medial aspect of the calcaneus
Lateral Heel Posting: grinding the base of an orthosis or adding to an orthosis to elevate the lateral aspect of the calcaneus
Forefoot Varus Posting: see medial forefoot posting
Forefoot Valgus Posting: see lateral forefoot posting
Rearfoot Valgus Posting: see lateral heel posting Rearfoot Varus Posting: see medial heel posting
Prescription: legal order requesting specific treatment, stating diagnosis and signed by a medical practitioner
Pronation: tri-plane motion of the foot consisting of eversion, dorsiflexion, and abduction; opposite of supination
Proximal: nearer to the central portion of the body; opposite of distal


Rocker Bar: sole bar with the apex beneath the metatarsal shafts causing rocking instead of flexing action
Rocker Bottom: a modified sole apexed at various positions to assist the gait cycle and relieve or transfer pressure from the designated areas of the foot and ankle.


Shank: firm, stiff, inflexible area of the shoe between the heel breast and ball that supports the plantar fascia
Sock Lining: material that provides smooth surface on top of the inner sole
Splint, Dennis-Browne: rigid bar between both shoes used to abduct or adduct the feet
Splint, Friedman-Counter: flexible leather strip attached to the lateral counters of both shoes; used to limit internal rotation
Stabilizer: material added to the upper leather of the shoe to reinforce the counter. May be medial or lateral
Straight Last: form for constructing a shoe that can be worn on either foot or a shoe whose medial border approximates a straight line
Sulcus: long, narrow groove or furrow o the plantar surface of the foot proximal to the phalanges
Supination: a tri-plane motion of the foot consisting of inversion, plantar flexion and adduction; opposite of pronation


Tarsus: the seven bones that form the hind portion of the foot
Thermoplastic: synthetic material that becomes fluid and elastic when heated, so that it can be reshaped, and hardens as it cools, so that it retains the new shape.
Throat: entrance of the shoe where vamp and quarters usually meet
Toe Box: reinforcement used to retain the original contour of the toe and guard the foot against trauma or abrasion
Toe Crest: convex cushion under the sulcus
Toe Spring: space between the outer sole and horizontal treading surface measured vertically at the toe, allowing rocker effect for shoe function
Toplift: replaceable outer layer of a shoe heel
Transverse Arch: the arch formed by the metatarsal bones, 1-5


Vamp: forepart of the shoe upper over the metatarsal shafts
Velcro: two-part nylon material in the form of tapes that fasten to each other; often used in place of laces and other shoe closures
Vegetable Tannage: process of converting hide to leather that uses materials derived from plant life such as oak, chestnut, quebracho, myrobalans or divi- divi; used for construction hypo-allergenic shoes
Vulcanizing Process: bonding of the outer sole to the upper form a sole mold in which the soft rubber molds to the shoe, then is allowed to cool and harden; common in footwear such as sneakers


Waist: section of the last between the ball and instep
Wedge: tapered leather, rubber, or other material used to elevate one side of the sole and/or heel
Wedging: insertion of wedges inside the shoe or on the sole and/or heel; posting
Width: linear measurement from the medial to lateral border of the shoe

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