occurs on the big toe and may result
in inflammation and infection of the
surrounding tissues (see
is the inability to raise the
foot properly when walking and is the
result of a nerve problem,
f o o t-d r o p
A condition in which the foot
cannot be raised properly and hangs
limp from the ankle.
the nerves that supply muscles that
move the foot is a common cause and
may be due to
diabetes meUitus, multiple
or a
Weakness in
the foot muscles can also result from
pressure on a nerve (due to a
disc pro-
or a tumour) as it leaves the
spinal cord. Treatment is of the under-
lying cause, but in many people the
weakness persists. A lightweight plastic
caliper splint
can be used to keep the
foot in place when walking,
f o r a m e n
A natural opening in a bone or
other body structure, usually to allow
the passage of nerves or blood vessels.
For example, the foramen magnum is a
hole in the base of the
which the
spinal cord
f o r c e p s
A tweezer-like instrument used
for handling tissues or equipment dur-
ing surgical procedures. Various types
of forceps are designed for specific pur-
poses. (See
also forceps, obstetric.)
f o r c e p s d e liv e ry
The use of forceps
to ease out the
baby's head during a difficult birth (see
Forceps delivery is used if
the mother is unable to push out her
baby unaided, or if the baby is showing
signs of
fetal distress.
Forceps are also
used to control the head once the body
has been delivered in
breech delivery
prevent too rapid a birth.
(making of a cut in the
perineum) is usually needed for a for-
ceps delivery. Recovery and care for
mother and child is usually the same
as after a vaginal delivery.
f o r c e p s , o b s te tr ic
Surgical instruments
that are used in
forceps delivery
deliver the head of a baby in a difficult
labour. Obstetric forceps consist of 2
blades that can be locked together and
that cup the baby's head.
f o r e ig n b o d y
An object that is present
in an organ or passage of the body but
which should not be there. Common
sites for foreign bodies include the air-
ways (see
ear (see ear,
body in),
eye (see eye,
foreign body in),
rectum, and vagina.
f o r e n s ic m e d ic in e
The branch of med-
icine concerned with the law, especially
criminal law. The forensic pathologist is
a doctor who specializes in the exami-
nation of bodies when circumstances
suggest death was unnatural. Forensic
pathologists may also examine victims
of alleged sexual assault. Forensic sci-
entists use laboratory methods to study
body fluids (such as blood and semen)
found on or near the victim and com-
pare them with those from suspects.
They are also trained in ballistics and
the identification of fibres from cloth-
ing. In addition, forensic scientists may
advise on
blood groups
fingerprinting in
legal investigations.
f o r e s k in
The popular name for the pre-
puce, the loose fold of skin that covers
the glans of the
when it is flaccid
and which retracts during erection. At
birth, the foreskin is attached to the glans
and is not retractable. It then separates
over the first 3 to 4 years of life. The
foreskin may be removed (see
for religious or medical reasons.
the foreskin remains per-
sistently tight after the age of 5, causing
difficulty in passing urine and balloon-
ing of the foreskin. There may also be
(infection of the glans).
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