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Orthopedic Terminology

Achilles tendinitis
A condition in which the Achilles tendon becomes swollen and painful as a result of overuse.

Achilles tendon
The body’s strongest tendon which connects calf muscles to the heel bone and allows people to walk, run and jump.

Acromioclavicular joint
The joint located at the top of the shoulder that connects the shoulder blade to the clavicle.

Anterior cruciate ligament –
The ligament which connects the tibia to the back of the femur. Also referred to as the ‘ACL.’  

Arthritis
A condition in which joints become inflamed causing pain, swelling and stiffness.

Arthrograms
An x-ray of a joint after being injected with contrast material.

Arthroscope —
A fiber optic scope which is used to examine a joint.

Atrophy
A progressive decline in size or muscle mass caused by injury, disease or lack of use.

Bone scan
A nuclear imaging test used to create images of bones on a computer.

Brace
A device which supports and stabilizes an injury.

Bursa –
A fluid sac in between a tendon and a bone which decreases friction.

Bursitis —
Results when a bursa becomes inflamed and causes pain at the site of inflammation.

Carpals
The eight wrist bones.

Carpal tunnel
A passageway located in the wrist in which the nerves and flexor muscles pass.

Carpal tunnel syndrome
Inflammation of the tendons located in the carpel tunnel resulting in numbness or pain.

Cast
A casing made of plaster or fiberglass used to keep a broken bone in place when healing.

Cartilage —
Tissue that provides cushion for bones and joints.

Chondromalacia
An injury located underneath the kneecap. Also referred to as ‘runner’s knee.’

Clavicle
The long bone that connects the shoulder blade to the upper part of the breast bone.

Compression
The third stage in R.I.C.E. therapy, referring to the application of a compression bandage or an ace wrap to the injured area to protect it and reduce swelling.

Dislocation
An injury that occurs when a bone is misaligned from a joint. This type of injury is usually the result of sudden impact and causes damage to ligaments.

Elbow joint
The joint located between the upper arm and forearm.

Elevation —
The fourth stage of R.I.C.E. therapy which refers to the elevation of the injured area in order to reduce pressure and pain. 

Femur
The strongest and longest bone in the human body which extends from the pelvis to the knee. Also referred to as the ‘thigh bone.’

Fibula
The small bone which extends from the knee to the ankle and is located in the outer part of the lower leg.

Fracture
The breaking or cracking of a bone usually as a result of trauma.

Glenohumeral joint
The joint located between the upper arm and the shoulder blade. Also referred to as the ‘shoulder joint.’

Gout–
A type of arthritis that is caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the blood which deposit in hard lumps in joints and result in sudden pain. This condition usually occurs in the knee, big toe or ankle joints.

Hip
A joint located between the thigh-bone and pelvic bone.

Humerus
The long arm bone located between the elbow and shoulder joints.

Ice —
The second stage of R.I.C.E therapy which refers to ice application to an injured area to reduce swelling and inflammation.Immobilized
Prohibiting the mobility of a joint or limb to assist the healing process.Isometric exercises
A system of exercise geared toward strength by pushing against fixed objects or other body parts.Isotonic exercises
A system of exercise which increases muscular strength by lifting a constant amount of weight.Joint
A part of the body which connects two or more bones and allows body parts to move.

Joint aspiration
A procedure which removes built up fluid in a joint.

Knee joint
Consists of the patello-femoral joint and the tibio femoral joint. The patello femoral joint connects the femur to the patella. The tibio-femoral joint connectst the tibia to the patella.

Ligaments
Tough bands which connect bones to bones and support joints.

Medial meniscus
A pad of cartilage that serves to cushion the knee joint. It acts as a shock absorber between the bones, along with the lateral meniscus, and separates the femur and the tibia.

Meniscus
A piece of cartilage that provides cushion between the femur and tibia.

Orthopedic surgeon
A physician who is trained to perform surgical treatment for orthopedic injuries.

Orthotics
Assistive devices such as braces which support weakened limbs or joints.

Osteoporosis
A disease which typically affects premenopausal women and causes decreased bone density.

Patella —
The triangular bone that protects the knee joint. Also referred to as the ‘kneecap.’

Patellar tendinitis
An injury which results from overuse and affects the patellar tendon. Also referred to as ‘jumper’s knee.’

Patellar tendon —
A tendon that extends from the quadriceps and attaches to the tibia, allowing extension of the knee joint.

Pelvic bone
The bone located at the bottom of the spine and extends to the hip joint.

Radius —
The small bone of the forearm that is located on the same side as the thumb.

Range of motion —
The full movement potential of a joint, typically concerning flexion and extension.

Rest —
The first stage of R.I.C.E treatment which encourages rest of the injured area for a faster recovery.

R.I.C.E.
A form of treatment for the initial period after an injury which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

Rotator cuff
Formed by a group of muscles located in the shoulder muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint.

Scapula
The bone that connects the humerus to the clavical. Also referred to as the ‘shoulder blade.’

Scapulothoracic joint
A major joint located in the shoulder.

Shoulder
A part of the body made up of the clavicle, scapula and the humerus which attaches the arm to the torso.

Splint
A device used to immobilize the injured area.

Sprain
An injury which results when a ligament is forced to stretch beyond its capacity.

Talus
The bone located where the foot and leg meet. Also referred to as the ‘ankle bone.’

Tendonitis
Inflammation of a tendon.

Tendon
Tough tissue that connects the muscle to the bone.

Thorax
The body part which contains the heart and lungs. Also referred to as the ‘chest.’

Tibia —
The inner, larger bone of the lower leg.

Ulna —
The large bone in the forearm that is located on the same side as the little finger.

Ulnar nerves
The major nerves of the hand which extend through the arm.

Wrist
Made up of two rows of small bones and connects the forearm and the hand.