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Heartland Foot and Ankle Associates
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What's In A Name?

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Our Marketing Coordinator, Michelle, is a wordsmith.  She love words (which is probably a good thing considering the fact that she is in marketing!).  She loves figuring out what a word means just by looking at the components and enjoys word games.  Well, yesterday I surprised Michelle with my knowledge of the origin of a few medical terms, and I would like to share them with you!

Have you ever stopped to think about why medical names are what they are?  So many medical terms originate from Greek or Latin roots and are in fact the definition of the ailment, such as plantar fasciitis.  The long tendon on the bottom of the foot is called the plantar fascia.  The suffix –itis means “forming names of inflammatory diseases”, or inflammation in short.  Therefore, plantar fasciitis is exactly what it says it is – an inflamed plantar fascia.

Other ailments are named after the person who discovered the disease, such as the Jones Fracture.  Dr. Robert Jones broke his foot behind his little toe while dancing, and therefore described the break as a Jones Fracture!

Other names are a little trickier.  Take the Tailor’s Bunion for instance.  Given what we just learned about the Jones Fracture, one would assume it was named after a Dr. Tailor, or at least that’s what Michelle thought.  In fact, I told her one of my favorite party facts I learned in college – the Tailor’s Bunion is actually named centuries ago by clothes tailors.  They would sit cross-legged with the outside of their foot rubbing the ground as the sewed.  This rubbing created a painful bump at the base of the little toe.  Thus, Tailor’s Bunion!

Do you have a fun medical word origin that you would like to share with us?  Comment below!

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