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MEDICAL GLOSSARY

A
Abduction: Movement of a joint away from the center of the body.

AC Joint (Acromioclavicular joint): Joint of the shoulder where acromion process of the shoulder blade and the distal end of the collarbone meet; most shoulder separations occur at this point.

Adduction: Movement of a joint toward the center of the body.

Adhesion: Abnormal adherence of collagen fibers to surrounding structures during immobilization following trauma or as a complication of surgery which restricts normal elasticity of the structures involved; or scar tissue which forms after trauma or surgery which can restrict normal motion.

Aerobic: Exercise in which energy needed is supplied by oxygen inspired and is required for sustained periods of vigorous exercise with a continually high pulse rate.

Anabolic Steroids: Steroids that promote tissue growth by creating protein in an attempt to enhance muscle growth. The main anabolic steroid is testosterone (male sex hormone).

Anaerobic: Exercise without the use of oxygen as an energy source; short bursts of vigorous exercise.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL): A primary stabilizing ligament within the center of the knee joint that prevents hyperextension and excessive rotation of the joint. A complete tear of the ACL necessitating reconstruction could require up to 12 months of rehabilitation.

Anti-Inflammatory: Any agent that prevents inflammation, such as aspirin or ibuprofen.

Arteriogram: A film demonstrating arteries after injection of a dye.

Arthrogram: X-ray technique for joints using air and/or dye injected into the affected area; useful in diagnosing meniscus tears of the knee and rotator cuff tears of the shoulder.

Arthroscope: An instrument used to visualize the interior of a joint cavity.

Arthroscopy: A surgical examination of the internal structures of a joint by means of observation through an arthroscope. An arthroscopic procedure can be used to remove or repair damaged tissue or as a diagnostic procedure in order to inspect the extent of any damage or confirm a diagnosis.

Atrophy: To shrivel or shrink from disuse, as in muscular atrophy.

B
Baker's Cyst: Localized swelling of a bursa sac in the back of the knee as a result of fluid that has escaped from the knee capsule. A Baker's cyst indicates there is a trauma inside the knee joint that leads to excessive fluid production.

Bone Scan: An imaging procedure in which a radioactive-labeled substance is injected into the body to determine the status of a bone injury. If the radioactive substance is taken up by the bone at the injury site, the injury will show as a 'hot spot' on the scan image. The bone scan is particularly useful in the diagnosis of stress fractures.

Bursa: A fluid-filled sac located in areas where friction is likely to occur. The bursa sac minimizes the friction, for example, between a tendon and bone.

C
Cartilage: Smooth, slippery substance preventing two ends of bones from rubbing together and grating. Most joints use this to cover bones next to each other. A meniscus is made of cartilage.

CAT Scan (Computerized Tomography): Use of a computer to produce a cross-sectional view of the anatomical part being investigated from X-ray data.

Chondromalacia: Roughening of the articular cartilage. Best known for the roughening of the underside of the kneecap, which can occur in any kneecap injury.

Clavicle: Collarbone; the bone connecting the breastbone with the shoulder blade.

Closed Reduction: Re-alignment of a fracture or dislocation without surgery.

Coccyx: The 'tailbone,' a group of four vertebrae that are fused together to form a small triangular bone, located at the terminal end of the spine.

Concussion: Jarring injury of the brain resulting in dysfunction. It can be graded as mild, moderate or severe, depending on loss of consciousness, amnesia and loss of equilibrium.

Contusion: An injury to a muscle and tissues caused by a blow from a blunt object.

Corticosteroids: Used to suppress joint inflammation and inflammation in a bursa or near tendons.

Cryotherapy: A treatment with the use of cold.

Cyst: Abnormal sac containing liquid or semi-solid matter.

D
Degenerative Joint Disease: Changes in the joint surfaces as a result of repetitive trauma and 'wear and tear.'

Deltoid Ligament: Ligament that connects the tibia to bones of the medial aspect of the foot and is primarily responsible for stability of the ankle on the medial side. Is sprained less frequently than other ankle ligaments.

Deltoid Muscle: Muscles at the top of the arm, just below the shoulder, responsible for shoulder motions in the front, side and back.

Disc, Intervertebral: A flat, rounded plate between each vertebrae of the spine. The disc consists of a thick fiber ring, which surrounds a soft gel-like interior. It functions as a cushion and shock absorber for the spinal column.

Dislocation: Complete displacement of joint surfaces.

E
Electromyogram (EMG): Test to determine nerve function.

Epiconondylitis: Inflammation of tendons at the elbow due to overuse. Common in tennis players (outer part of elbow) and golfers (inner part of elbow).

Etiology: Study of the cause of injury and disease.

Extension: Action of straightening of a joint as achieved by an extensor muscle.

F
Fascia: A connective tissue sheath consisting of fibrous tissue and fat which unites the skin to the underlying tissue.

Fat Percentage: The amount of body weight that is adipose, fat tissue. Fat percentage can be calculated by underwater weighing, measuring select skinfold thickness or by analyzing electrical impedance.

Femur: Thighbone; longest bone in the body.

Fibula: Smaller of the two bones in the lower leg; runs from the knee to the ankle along the outside of the lower leg.

Flexibility: The ability of muscle to relax and yield to stretch forces.

Fracture: Breach in continuity of a bone. Types of fractures include simple, compound, comminuted, greenstick, incomplete, impacted, longitudinal, oblique, open, stress or transverse.

G
Glenohumeral: The shoulder girdle: consists of the glenoid capsule, head of the humerus and labrum.

Glenoid: Cavity of the scapula into which the head of the humerus fits to form the shoulder girdle.

Glenoid Labrum: A rim of fibrocartilaginous tissue attached around the margin of the glenoid fossa.

Grade One Injury: A mild injury in which ligament, tendon or other musculoskeletal tissue may have been stretched, but not torn or otherwise disrupted.

Grade Two Injury: A moderate injury in which musculoskeletal tissue has been partially, but not totally torn, causing appreciable limitation in function of the injured tissue.

Grade Three Injury: A severe injury in which tissue loss has been significant, and in many cases, totally torn or otherwise disrupted, causing a virtual loss of function.

Groin: Junction of the thigh and abdomen, location of muscles that rotate, flex and adduct the hip.

H
Hammer Toe: Condition when the first digit of a toe is at a different angle than the remaining digits of the same toe.

Hamstring: Category of muscle that runs from the buttocks to the knee along the back of the thigh. It functions to flex the knee and is often times injured as a result of improper conditioning or lack of muscle flexibility.

Hemarthrosis: Accumulation of blood within a joint as a result of an acute injury.

Hematoma: Mass produced by an accumulation of coagulated blood in a cavity or in soft tissues.

High Ankle Sprain: Disruption of thick connective tissue between the tibia and fibula above the ankle joint.

Hip Pointer: Contusion to the iliac crest.

Hydrotherapy: Treatment using water.

Hyperextension: Extreme extension of a limb or body part.

I
Ice and Stimulation: Use of ice to reduce inflammation and muscle stimulation by surface electrodes to maintain muscle strength used in rehabilitation of injury.

Iliotibial Band: A thick, wide fascial layer that runs from the iliac crest to the knee joint on the outside of the thigh.

Inflammation: The body's natural response to injury in which the injury site might display various degrees of pain, swelling, heat, redness and/or loss of function.

Isometric Contraction: Muscular contraction in which tension is developed but no mechanical work is done.

L
Labrum (Labrum Glenoidule): The cartilage of the glenoid cavity in the shoulder. A lip-edged or lip-like structure.

Lateral Collateral Ligament (LCL): Ligament of the knee along the outer aspect that connects the femur to the fibula. It provides lateral stability to the joint.

Ligament: Band of fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone or bone to cartilage and supports and strengthens joints.

M
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Imaging procedure in which a radio frequency pulse causes certain electrical elements of the injured tissue to react to this pulse and through this process a computer display and permanent film establish a visual image. MRI does not require radiation and is very useful in the diagnosis of soft tissue, disc and meniscus injuries.

Mandible: The jaw bone.

Medial Collateral Ligament (MCL): Ligament of knee along the inner aspect that connects the femur to the tibia.

Meniscus: Crescent-shaped cartilage, usually pertaining to the knee joint; also known as cartilage. There are two menisci in the knee - medial and lateral. These work to absorb weight within the knee and provide stability.

Metacarpals: Five long bones of the hand, joining the fingers to the wrist.

Metatarsals: Five long bones of the foot, running from the ankle to the toes.

Myositis: Inflammation of a muscle.

O
Open Reduction: Realignment of a fracture or dislocation with surgery.

Orthotic: Any device applied to or around the body of physical impairment of disability. Commonly used to control foot mechanics.

Osteochondritis Dessicans: A piece of bone and/or cartilage loosened from its attachment after trauma and a cause of a lesion.

Osteomyelitis: An inflammatory disease of bone caused usually by infection with streptococcus or staphylococcus bacteria.

P
Patella: The kneecap. The patella functions to protect the distal end of the femur as well as increase the mechanical advantage and force generating capacities of the quadriceps muscle group.

Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of the plantar (a thick tissue on the bottom of the foot which helps create the arch) fascia; associated with overuse or acute foot injury.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL): A primary stabilizing ligament of the knee that provides significant stability and prevents displacement of the tibia backward within the knee joint. A complete tear of this ligament necessitating reconstruction could require up to 12 months of rehabilitation.

Q
Quadricep Muscles: A group of four muscles of the front thigh that run from the hip and form a common tendon at the patella. They are responsible for knee extension.

R
Radius: Bone in the forearm from elbow to the thumb side of the wrist.

Reconstruction: Surgical rebuilding of a joint using natural, artificial or transplanted materials.

Rotator Cuff: Comprised of four muscles in the shoulder area that can be irritated by overuse. The muscles are the supraspinatus (most commonly injured), infraspinatus, teres minor and subscapularis.

S
Sacroiliac: Junction of the sacrum, the lower back bone, with the pelvis.

Sacrum: Group of five fused vertebrae located just below the lumbar vertebrae of the lower back, which form part of the pelvis.

Scapula: Shoulder blade.

Sciatica: Irritation of the sciatic nerve resulting in pain or tingling running down the inside of the leg.

Sciatic Nerve: Major nerve that carries impulses for muscular action and sensations between the low back and thigh and lower leg; it is the longest nerve in the body.

Shin Splint: A catch-all syndrome describing pain in the shin that is not a fracture or tumor and cannot be defined otherwise.

Spleen: Large, solid organ responsible for the normal production and destruction of blood cells located under the left rib cage.

Spondylosis: Abnormal vertebral fixation or immobility, or a general term for arthritis of the spine.

Sprain: Injury resulting from the stretching or twisting of the joint and causes various degrees of stretching or tearing of a ligament or other soft tissue at the joint.

Strain: Injury resulting from a pulling or torsion to the muscle or tendon that causes various degrees of stretching or tearing to the muscle or tendon tissue.

Stress Fracture: A hairline type of break in a bone. Caused by overuse.

Subluxation: Partial dislocation of a joint. The term usually implies that the joint can return to a normal position without formal reduction.

Synovial Fluid: Lubricating fluid for joints and tendons, produced in synovium, or the inner lining of a joint.

Synovitis: Inflammation of the synovial lining of a joint.

T
Talus: The ankle bone that articulates with the tibia and fibula to form the ankle joint.

Tarsals: Group of seven bones of the foot consisting of the calnavicular, talus, cuboid and three cuneiform bones.

Tendinitis: Inflammation of the tendon and/or tendon sheath, caused by chronic overuse or sudden injury.

Tendon: Tissue that connects muscle to bone.

Tenosynovitis: Swelling or inflammation of a tendon sheath caused by calcium deposits, repeated strain or trauma.

Tibia: Shin bone; larger of the two bones of the lower leg and is the weight?bearing bone of the shin.

Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator (TENS): An electrical modality that sends a mild current through pads at the injury site which stimulates the brain to release the natural analgesic endorphin.

Transverse Process: Small lateral projection off the right and left side of each vertebrae that functions as an attachment site for muscles and ligaments of the spine.

Triceps: Muscle of the back of the upper arm, primarily responsible for extending the elbow.

U
Ulna: Inner bone of the forearm that runs from the tip of the elbow to the little finger side of the wrist.

Ulnar Nerve: Nerve in the elbow commonly irritated from excessive throwing.

Ultrasound: An electrical modality that transmits a sound wave through an applicator into the skin to the soft tissue in order to heat the local area for relaxing the injured tissue and/or disperse edema ... Also a type of imaging study for certain body areas.

W
"Wind Knocked Out": Syndrome describing a contraction of the abdominal nerve truck, the solar plexus, as a result of an abdominal contusion.

 

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