Medical Knowledge from A - Z

Abduction - Moving a limb away from midline of the body

Achilles tendon - Prominent tendon at the back of the leg, behind the ankle

BE - An amputation or prosthesis below the elbow - more commonly, Transradial

Bench alignment - The basic alignment of a socket and other components which is established before the prosthetist begins to align the prosthesis on the client

Bilateral - "Both sides" - if both legs are amputated, bilateral prostheses would be provided

Biomechanics - The scientific study of body movement and forces

BK - An amputation or prosthesis below the knee - more commonly, Transtibial

Bulbous - A residual limb that is large at the end, near the surgical site

Cadence - The speed at which one walks

Calcaneus - Heel bone

Callous - Thickening of the skin

Carpals - The bones between the metacarpals and the wrist

Cast - modification Adding or removing material from the plaster model of a residual limb to improve the fit of the socket that will be made from that plaster model

Cavus foot - A foot with an unusually high arch

Cervical vertebrae - The seven vertebrae of the neck

Check socket - A socket, usually transparent, which is used to evaluate the socket fit before the fabrication of the final socket - also called a test socket

Chopart - A partial foot amputation leaving only the calcaneus and talus intact

Clavicle - The collar bone

Coccyx - Distal portion of vertebral column; the tail bone

Compound fracture - A bone fracture which has broken through the skin

Congenital - "Born with", as with birth deformities

Congenital limb deficiency - Absence of a limb or part of a limb at the time of birth

Contracture - A shortening of a muscle

Cosmesis - The appearance of a device

Cosmetic cover - The protective external cover that gives an endoskeletal prosthesis a normal anatomical appearance

Decubitis Ulcer - Bed sore; pressure sore

Definitive prosthesis - A permanent prosthesis fitted once the stump shape has stabilised and atrophy has plateaued.

Disarticulation - Amputation through a joint; no bone is cut

Distal - Away from the trunk - when referring to a limb, the part farthest from the body

Doffing - The act of taking the prosthesis or orthosis off

Donning - The act of putting the prosthesis or orthosis on

Dorsiflexion - The motion of the ankle joint that raises the foot

Drop foot - An inability to dorsiflex foot (raise the foot)

Dynamic alignment - Adjusting the prosthetic components to suit the movement patterns of the client

Endoskeletal - "Inside skeleton", a prosthesis has the structural components inside a non-structural cover which provides protection and cosmesis

Energy storing foot - A prosthetic component designed with a flexible inner structure that flexes slightly during weight bearing and then releases its energy to help the prosthesis move forward

Ertl Procedure - A transtibial amputation technique in which bone is introduced between the tibia and fibula, so that they will be secured together for greater comfort and function

Exoskeletal - "Outside skeleton", a prosthesis which is supported by a rigid outside shell

Extension - To straighten a joint

Femur Bone - from hip to knee joint

Fibula - Lateral bone of leg, from knee to ankle

Flaccid - Relaxed or flabby - without muscle tone

Flexion - To bend a joint

Flexion contracture - A permanent muscular contraction due to spasm or fibrosis

FO - Foot Orthosis, also called "orthotics" or arch supports

Fracture - Any break in a bone

Fusion - To grow together; as in a joint which grows together and no longer bends

Gait - training Learning to walk with a prosthesis or orthosis

Hematoma - A localized haemorrhage

Hemipelvectomy - Amputation above the hip joint in which part of the pelvis is removed

Hemiplegic - Paralysis of one side of the body

Hemophilia - A medical condition in which bleeding does not stop in the normal manner

HKAFO - Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot-Orthosis - an orthosis (brace) which supports the patient from the hip to the foot

HO - Hip Orthosis - a brace which controls motion of the hip

Humerus Bone - from the shoulder to the elbow

Hyperextension - Angle of extension greater than normal

Idiopathic - A medical term meaning "cause unknown" used to describe medical conditions of unknown origin

Inferior - Away from the head; below

Inflammation - Redness which may be accompanied by heat and swelling

Initial prosthesis - A prosthesis fitted soon after amputation so that gait training can begin.

Interface - Inner surface of a prosthetic or orthotic device which is in contact with the patient's skin

Ischial containment - A Transfemoral socket design which covers the ischium and contains it

Ischium or Ischial Tuberosity - The part of the pelvis on which we sit; the "seat bones"

KAFO - Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis - an orthosis which provides support to both the knee and ankle

KB - Knee Bearing - a prosthesis on which the amputee bears weight on the knee

KD - An amputation through the knee joint, or a prosthesis for such amputation

Knee Disarticulation - An amputation through the knee joint, or a prosthesis for such amputation

KO - Knee Orthosis - an orthosis which provides support to the knee

Kyphosis - Spinal curvature in the thoracic spine; humpback

Lateral - Away from the midline of the trunk; as in the outside of the leg

Lesion - Break in the skin

Ligament - Connective tissue between bones

Liner - Soft material used between the residual limb and the prosthetic socket providing protection, comfort, and in some cases suspension

Lordosis - Spinal curvature - often an exaggerated curve of the lumbar spine

LSO - Lumbosacral Orthosis - a brace which supports the lower back and pelvis

Lumbar spine - The five spinal vertebra of the low back - the vertebrae between the pelvis and the ribs

Malleolus - A rounded bony prominence on either side of the ankle joint - the plural is malleoli

Manipulation - Treatment by manual techniques

Manual locking knee - A prosthetic knee component, which can be locked in extension for safety during ambulation - the lock is manually released when the amputee sits

Mastectomy - Amputation of the breast

Medial - Toward the midline of the trunk, as in the inside of leg

Metacarpal - The five long bones of the hand to which the fingers attach

Metatarsals - The five bones of the foot to which the toes attach

Multiaxial foot - A prosthetic foot that has motion in more than one plane

Muscle - Tissue which has ability to contract when stimulated

Myodesis procedure - An amputation technique in which the cut muscles are secured to the bone so that they will perform better with less atrophy

Myoelectric prosthesis - An upper limb prosthesis which uses electrodes within the socket to convert muscular contraction of the residual limb into signals which activate the elbow, wrist, or terminal device

Nerve - Tissue capable of transmitting impulses

Neuroma - An overgrowth of nerve tissue

Non-union - A fractured bone which does not heal normally

Occipital - Relating to the back of the head

Occupational therapy - Treatment to improve tasks of work or daily living

Oedema - Collection of fluids causing swelling of the tissues

Orthoses - The plural of orthosis (orthopedic brace)

Orthosis - An orthopaedic brace or appliance

Orthotics - The art and science of fitting orthoses (orthopedic braces). Also a term for Foot Orthoses or arch supports

Orthotist - A professional who designs, supplies, and fits orthotic braces

OT - Occupational Therapist

Paralysis - Inability to use muscles because of nerve damage

Paraplegia - Partial or complete paralysis of both legs

Paraplegic - One who has paraplegia; paralyzed from the waist down

Patella - The kneecap

Pathomechanics - The scientific study of faulty body movement

Peripheral vascular disease - Disease of the small blood vessels near the skin surface

Pes Planus - A foot with a low or flat arch

Phalanges - Fingers or toes

Phantom pain - An abnormal painful sensation in that part of an amputated limb that is no longer present

Phantom sensation - Sensory awareness of the part of an amputated limb that is no longer present - a normal and non-painful condition

Physical therapy - Exercise and training to restore function

Pistoning - When the residual limb moves slightly into and out of the socket

Plantar - The bottom surface of the foot - the sole

PMR - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Polycentric knee - A prosthetic knee component with more than one axis of rotation to increase knee stability. It is helpful for fitting amputees with long residual limbs because it improves cosmesis by minimizing the length of the thigh section

Posterior - Toward the back of the body

Post-operative prosthesis - A prosthesis which is fitted to the patient immediately following surgery

Prehension - To hold or grasp

Prognosis - Prediction of the medical outcome

Prostheses - The plural of prosthesis (artificial limb)

Prosthesis - A device which replaces a missing body part; an artificial limb

Prosthetist - A professional specializing in designing, fitting and fabricating artificial limbs

PT - Physical therapist, or physical therapy

PTB socket Patella Tendon Bearing Socket - a type of socket for a below-knee amputee, which is designed to bear weight on the tendon just below the patella

PTS socket Patella Tendon Super Condylar Socket - a type of socket for a below-knee amputees with trim lines, which provide suspension by enclosing the bones of the knee Quadriplegia Partial or complete paralysis of both the arms and legs

Radius - One of the two bones between the elbow and hand; the radius joins the hand nearest the thumb

Residual limb - That part of the limb which remains after amputation - the stump RGO Reciprocating Gait Orthosis - an HKAFO or KAFO that links the legs so that a paralyzed person is able to step forward to walk - crutches are commonly required for balance

Rigid dressing - A cast or device applied after amputation, which controls swelling and reduces pain

ROM - Range of motion - the extent of the ability to move a joint

SACH foot Solid Ankle Cushion Heel - a prosthetic foot that has no mechanical axis and simulates normal foot function by compression of the heel and flexibility of the toe

Scapula - The bone referred to as the shoulder blade

Scoliosis - Lateral curvature of the spine; 'S' shaped spine

Silesian bandage or belt - A flexible belt which can be used to assist the suspension of a transfemoral prosthesis - "bandage" is used in the older sense of the word, meaning "something that binds"

Single axis foot - A prosthetic foot with only one pivot point which allows movement in one plane

Socket - The part of the prosthesis that encloses the residual limb

Spasm - Involuntary muscle contraction

Spastic - Subject to involuntary muscular contractions or spasms

Spinal orthosis - Brace applied to all or part of the trunk, head and neck, and their intermediate joints

Stance control knee - A prosthetic knee component with a mechanism which increases the safety and stability of the knee

Static alignment - Alignment of the prosthesis or orthosis while the patient is standing but not walking

Stockinette - A tubular cotton or nylon fabric which is sometimes used to don a prosthetic socket

Stroke - Rupturing of a blood vessel in the brain

Stump shrinker - A compressive wrapping or sock applied to the residual limb to prevent swelling and shape the limb, commonly used during the first post-operative months

Stump sock - A sock worn over the residual limb to cushion the limb and provide a snug fit between limb and socket

Suction socket - A type of prosthetic socket that is held on the limb with negative pressure

Suspension - To hold up or suspend; used to describe the method of holding a prosthesis in place

Suspension sleeve - A flexible component that suspends a transtibial prosthesis - it is an elastic tubular sleeve that is pulled over the upper part of the prosthesis and then rolled up on the thigh once the prosthesis has been donned

Syme - An ankle disarticulation amputation procedure named for the physician who invented it - the bulbous end of the limb is often able to bear weight. Also, a prosthesis for a Syme amputee

Tarsals - The bones between the metatarsals and the bones of the ankle joint and heel

Terminal device - Term used to describe portion of upper extremity prosthesis which replaces the hand - a prosthetic hand or hook

Test socket - A socket, usually transparent, which is used to evaluate the socket fit before the fabrication of the final socket - also called a check socket

Thermoplastic - A type of plastic that can be heated and formed

Thoracic vertebra - The 12 spinal vertebra to which ribs are attached

Tibia - One of two bones from knee to ankle joint - the shin bone

TLSO - Thoracolumbar-Sacral Orthosis - a brace which supports the spine from pelvis to armpits

Torso - The chest and abdominal area - the trunk

Total contact - A socket design that provides contact with all parts of the residual limb

Traction - External force used to pull a body member

Transfemoral (TF) - amputation - Amputation above the knee

Transhumeral (TH) - amputation - Amputation above the elbow

Transmetasatal (TM) - amputation - A partial foot amputation through the metatarsal bones

Transradial (TR) - amputation - Amputation below the elbow

Transtibial (TT) - amputation- Amputation below the knee

Traumatic amputation - The removal of a limb as a result of an accident or injury

Tremor - Involuntary shaking

Ulcer - Lesion or opening of the skin

Ulna - One of two bones between the elbow and hand - the ulna joins the hand nearest the little finger

Umbilicus - Navel

Unilateral - One side only; used to describe an amputee missing one extremity

Upper extremity - Same as upper limb - having to do with the arms

Valgus - Bent or angled inward; at the knee, knock-knee

Varus - Bent or angled outward; at the knee, bowlegged

Vascular - Relating to or containing blood vessels

Vascular amputation - Amputation surgery performed as a result of impaired blood circulation

WHO Wrist-Hand Orthosis - an orthosis which supports the wrist and hand

Wrist unit - An upper limb prosthetic component that allows the amputee to position the terminal

device for optimum function