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Related to down-at-heel: dug in their heels, dig in his heels


1. the hindmost part of the foot; called also calx.
2. the hindmost portion of an elongated structure, or something else comparable to the heel of the foot.
Thomas heel a shoe correction consisting of a heel one half inch longer and an eighth to a sixth of an inch higher on the inside; used to bring the heel of the foot into varus and to prevent depression in the region of the head of the talus.


1. Proximal portion of the plantar surface of the foot.
2. Synonym(s): calx (2)
3. Synonym(s): distal end
[A.S. hēla]


(hēl) calx; the hindmost part of the foot.
cracked heels  pitted keratolysis.


a. The rounded posterior portion of the human foot under and behind the ankle.
b. The corresponding part of the hind foot of other vertebrates.
c. A similar anatomical part, such as the fleshy rounded base of the human palm or the hind toe of a bird.


Etymology: AS, hela
the posterior part of the foot, formed by the largest tarsal bone, the calcaneus.


, pl. calces (kalks, kal'sēz)
1. Synonym(s): lime (1) .
2. The posterior rounded extremity of the foot.
Synonym(s): heel (1) .
[L. limestone]

dis·tal end

(dis'tăl end)
The posterior extremity of a dental appliance.
Synonym(s): heel (2) .


foot area inferior to ankle and proximal to tarsus


1. Proximal portion of plantar surface of foot.
2. Synonym(s): calx (2) .
3. Synonym(s): distal end.
[A.S. hēla]


1. (rare) in cats and dogs, the hock joint or tarsus.
2. in ungulates, the place at the rear of the hoof or claw where horn and skin meet and where the wall of the hoof turns horizontally to become the sole.

heel abscess
one of the forms taken by foot abscess in sheep. There is pain and swelling at the affected heel, and separation and discharge of pus occurs at the skin-horn junction. The abscess is caused by infection with Fusobacterium necrophorum and Arcanobacterium pyogenes, the infection resulting from an extension of the infection from an interdigital dermatitis.
heel bug
see trombiculaautumnalis.
heel bulb necrosis
see infectious bulbar necrosis.
contracted heel
the heels of the affected hoof are closer together than normal, the frog is narrow and shrunken and the bars form a narrower angle than in the normal hoof. The horse is usually lame on the leg.
heel easing
trimming the foot so that the heels can spread more.
heel effect
unequal distribution of the x-ray beam intensity emitted from the x-ray tube. Due to angulation of the target, the distribution of the beam intensity decreases rapidly towards the anode due to absorption of the x-ray beam by the target and anode material.
heel fly
sheared heel
vertical separation occurs between the heels of a horse's hoof causing lameness. A chronic condition due usually to overuse of one heel because of a conformational imbalance.

Patient discussion about heel

Q. Is there any good source for heel pain relief, besides NSAIDs? My heel pain is most severe at night when I sleep. It's as if the way I position my feet worsen the condition, but I'm at a loss to know how to position my feet. During the day my heels feel so but don't typically bother me.

A. I have found that keeping my feet flexed (the position they are in when standing) helps ease the pain of plantar facitis. I also don't let my feet get cold(wear socks)and keep heavy blankets and quilts off the feet. Placing a box under the covers at the foot of the bed will help keep the blankets up. Do try the exercises recommended on the above web sites. It usually resolves in about 6 months. Best wishes!

Q. I had sugery on a fractured heel what is the recovery process? Wanting to meet people who are going thru this now or have already recovered from this injury. What should I expect?

A. Hey doyen_98, I was wondering how the recovery was coming along. How long ago have you had the surgery?

Q. anyone knows how to stop hard skin on the feet from becoming cracked??? during summer my feet got lots of hard skin and in the heel area the skin actually got cracked kinda deep. it hurts now and the cracks are starting to get infected I guess... do u guys know how to solve this?? I know there are some creams for that but I thought maybe now it's too late for that and I need something stronger?

A. There are good creams for moisterizing the skin of your feet on a daily basis, however now that you feel they might be infected you should see a dermatologist for some better treatment.

More discussions about heel
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