Medical Glossary


Abduction - A movement which draws the limb away from the middle of the body. The opposite of adduction.

Achilles Tendon - A tendon in the back of the leg that serves to attach the calf muscle to the heel bone.

Achilles Tendinitis - Painful inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

Acute - A condition with a rapid onset or that only lasts for a short period of time.

Adduction - A movement which draws the limb towards the middle of the body. The opposite of abduction.

Adhesion - Fibrous bands that form between tissues or organs, sometimes thought of as internal scar tissue.

Anatomical - Deals with the structure of organisms.

Angulation - An action that means to move into an angle, deviating from a straight line.

Anterior - A position that is toward the front.

Anterior Cruciate Ligament - A ligament in the knee that attaches the front of the tibia with the back of the femur.

Anterior Drawer - An ACL injury is diagnosed by pulling the tibia forward with the knee partially bent and flexed, is commonly referred to as “Drawer Test.”

Appendage - A projecting part of the body.

A/P Laxity - Anterior/Posterior Laxity, when the tibia shifts forward.

Arthritis - The inflammation of a joint.

Arthroscopy - Examination or surgery using an arthroscope to view the inside of a joint.

Arthrosis - Degeneration of a joint.

Arthrotomy - A surgical incision into a joint.

Articular - Relates to a joint.

Articular Cartilage - The cartilage that covers the articular surfaces of bones.

Articulation - Where two bones come together to form a joint.

Atrophy - Decrease in size of a body part, organ, or tissue.

Avulsion Fracture - Fracture that is a result of a bone fragment being pulled away from the bone by a ligament, tendon, or joint capsule.


Bi-elastic Knit - Stretching horizontally and vertically.

Bilateral - Relating to both the right and left sides of the body and right and left members of paired organs.

Biomechanics - The mechanical bases of muscular activity.

Bursa - A small pouch or sac in between a tendon and a bone.

Bursae - Pouches that help ease movement by reduction.

Bursitis - The inflammation of a bursa.


Calcaneus - The heel bone.

Calcium Deposit - The hardening of bone or soft tissue.

Callus - A hard thickening of the skin.

Carpal-tunnel Syndrome - A condition that is a result of compression on the median nerve that causes weakness, pain, and loss of strength of sensations in the hand and fingers.

Cartilage - Elastic translucent tissue that is harder than ligaments but softer than bones.

Cast - Used to treat fractures by pouring a liquid into a mold and letting it harden without pressure.

Cerebral Palsy - A disability due to damage of the brain and results in coordination and speech disturbances.

Chondral - Of or relating to cartilage.

Chondromalacia (Runner’s Knee) - Abnormal softness of cartilage in the knee, pain behind knee cap.

Chronic - A slow progression of seriousness or something marked by a long duration (i.e. chronic pain).

Clavicle - Bone that links the scapula and sternum.

Collagen - A fibrous protein that is similar to gelatin or glue, main support in body.

Compression - The result of pressure or pressing.

Compromise Axis of Rotation - Where the femur rotates around.

Condyle - Rounded articular surface of a bone.

Congenital - A condition that has existed from birth.

Connective Tissue- Surrounds many organs and is made out of fibers. Supports and establishes a framework for the organs.

Contracture - Shortening of a muscle or tendon in the human body in response to stress exerted on that muscle or tendon.

Contusion - An injury to tissue that does not result in laceration or break in the skin.

Corn - Hardening of the skin.


Degenerative Joint Disease - This disease is caused by the break down, inflammation, and loss of cartilage, also known as osteoarthritis.

Dislocation - Displacement of the ball from the socket of a joint.

Displacement - The movement of something from its proper place or position.

Distal - The location that is away from the center of the body.

Dorsal - The location on or near the back or posterior part of the body.

Dorsiflexion - The position of the foot when it is in an upward direction.

Dystrophy - A condition that is the result of poor nutrition.


Edema - An abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissue, otherwise known as swelling.

Effusion - The release of fluid from a ruptured vessel.

Epicondyles - Inflammation of an epicondyle.

Epicondylitis - Inflammation of the muscles and tendons on the outside of the elbow.

Etiology - The cause of a disease or abnormal condition .

Eversion - To turn inside out.

Exostosis - A bone spur or outgrowth of a bone.

Extension - The unbending movement around a joint.

Extensor - A muscle that is used to extend a body part.

External Rotation - Rotation towards the outside of the body.

Extremity - A limb of the body.


Fascia - Tissue in the form of a sheet.

Fat Pad Atrophy - Thinning or decreasing of the fat pad located in the metatarsal area of the foot or heel.

Femoral Condyles - The two knobs that are located at the bottom of the thigh bone that sit on the meniscus and tibia plateau.

Femur - The largest bone in the human body that extends from the hip to the knee.

Fibrosis - The degeneration of fibrous tissue.

Fibrositis - A rheumatic disorder of fibrous tissue.

Fibula - The smaller bone of the lower limb.

Fixation - Immobilizing parts of a fractured bone, sometimes involves using metal attachments or tools.

Flat Knit - The knitted construction between the ribs.

Flexion - The bending of a joint.

Flexor - The muscle that is used to bend a body part.

Fracture - The process or act of being broken.

Frontal Plane- A plane that is parallel to the long axis of the body and is also perpendicular to the sagittal plane which separates the body into front and back sections.


Glenohumeral - The connection of the glenoid cavity and the humerous.

Graduated Compression - A force that takes place over time that is shortening or squeezing something.


Hamstrings - Some of the tendons that are located on the back of knee and thigh.

Heel Bursitis - A heel spur causes a sac of fluid to form in the heel area.

Heel Spur- A bone spur projecting from the back or underside of the heel.

Hemiparesis - Partial paralysis or weakness in a muscle.

High Tibial Osteotomy - Surgical division of the tibia bone.

Horizontal Plane - A plane passing through the standing body.

Humerus -The longest bone in the upper arm from the shoulder to the elbow.

Hyperextension - The extension that results when a joint is extended greater than normal.

Hyperkeratosis - Excessive development of the stratum corneum layer of the skin.

Hypertrophy - Excessive development of a body part or organ.


Immobilize - To eliminate or reduce motion to a body part.

Incision - A cut into tissue, typically occurring during surgery.

Indication - A symptom or circumstance that will prompt medical treatment.

Inferior - A part that is below or closer to the feet than another.

Inflammation - A painful condition that usually involves feelings of heat, pain, and swelling.

Internal Rotation- Rotation towards the center of the body.

Inversion - A reversal of position.


Joint Capsule - A sac that surrounds a freely movable joint.


Kinematic - A study of physics that deals with aspects of motion from considerations of mass and force.


Lateral - Relates to the side of an object.

Lateral Collateral Ligament - The ligament that connects the lateral side of the femur to the lateral side of the fibula to help stabilize the knee.

Ligament - A tough band of tissue that connects the extremities of bones or to hold an organ in place.

Lumbar - The lower back.

Luxation - Dislocation of a part of the body.


Malalignment - Imperfect alignment.

Malleolus - A process that projects from the tibia on the medial side at the ankle.

Mechanical Low Back Pain - A common symptom of musculoskeletal disorders or of disorders of the vertebrae.

Medial - Describes something that is located in the middle.

Medial Collateral Ligament - This ligament provides stability and strength to the knee joint. Surrounds the knee joint with ligaments strapping inside and outside.

Metatarsal - Part of the human foot.

Metatarsalgia - A cramping or burning sensation in the foot below and between the metatarsal bones.

Morton’s Neuroma - A swollen nerve in the balm of the foot caused by compression of the plantar nerve between the metatarsal bones. Morton’s Neuroma is especially common in women that wear heels.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - A procedure used in which magnetic resonance imaging is used.

Muscle - A body tissue that contracts and produces motion.

Musculoskeletal - Involves the skeleton.

Musculoteninous Junction - The point where a tendon meets a muscle.


Necrosis - The death of soft tissue.

Nerve Palsy - Paralysis of the recurrent laryngeal nerve.

Non-compressible - Returns to original shape.


Osteoarthritis (Degenerative Joint Disease) - A degeneration in the bone and cartilage of joints that can cause inflammation, pain, swelling, and stiffness.

Osteomalacia - A disease that involves softening of the bones.

Osteoporosis - A condition that involves a loss in bone mass and can cause bones to become brittle.


Patella - The knee cap.

Patella tracking disorder - When the knee cap shifts out of place when it straightens or bends.

Patellar Tendon - Provides extension at the knee joint by the tendon extending down from the quadriceps muscle in the thigh to incorporate the patella and attach in to the tibia.

Periosteum - Dense membrane composed of connective tissue that wraps all bone.

Plantar - The sole of the foot.

Plantar fasciitis - Inflammation of the plantar fascia. Causes pain under the heel when walking or running.

Plantar Flexion - The position the foot is in when it flexes downward toward the sole.

Popliteal Region - The space found at the back of the leg behind the knee joint.

Posterior Cruciate Ligament - A cruciate ligament of the knee that is attached medially in back between the condyles of the tibia.

Posterior Drawer - Pushing forward on the tibia when the knee is bent in a 90 degree angle. This is to evaluate the posterior cruciate ligament.

Posterior Tibial Dysfunction - Overstretching or inflammation of the posterior tendon in the foot.

Pronation - The rotation of a body part toward the midline.

Prophylactic - To prevent or ward off.

Proprioception - The reception of stimuli produced inside an organism.

Prosthesis - An artificial device that replaces an impaired or missing body part.

Proximal - Located toward the center of the body.


Quadriceps - The large muscle on the front side of the thigh.


Radius - The bone on the thumb side of the forearm.

Rheumatoid Arthritis - A painful chronic disease that affects the joints.

Rotator Cuff- Supporting tissue and structure of the shoulder that attaches to the humerus.

Rupture - The tearing of a tissue.


Sacroiliac Dysfunction- Pain that comes from the abnormalities of the sacroiliac joints, where the spine is connected to the pelvis.

Sagittal Plane - Plane of a body that is divided into two equal halves.

Screw Home Mechanism - Occurs during the final ten degrees of knee extension.

Seiver’s Disease - Inflammation of the growth plate found in children’s heel.

Separation - A dislocation of a joint or two bones from each other.

Shear Loading - A load that is parallel to the surface.

Soft Tissue - Muscle, fat, tissue, vessels, everything that is a “soft” supporting thing in the body.

Splayfoot - An abnormality in the foot where it appears to be flat and spread out.

Splint - A device that is used to immobilize a body part.

Sprain - A twist to a joint that causes a tear of ligaments and a rupture of blood vessels.

Stabilize - To become stable.

Straight Instability - Unstable.

Strain - Overuse of trauma to a tendon or muscle.

Stress - A force that is exerted onto a body part.

Subluxation - A partial dislocation.

Superior - A position that is toward the head and further away from the feet.

Supination - Rotation of the hand and forearm so that the palm faces forward or upward.

Synovial Fluid - Lubricating fluid for the joints, also called joint fluid.

Synovitis - Inflammation of the synovial membrane, lining of the joint.

Synovium Membrane - Dense connective tissue that secretes synovial fluid.


Talus - The ankle bone.

Tendonitis - Inflammation of a tendon.

Tendon - Dense fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle with other parts of the body.

Tendon Sheath - Covering of a tendon.

Tenosynovitis - Inflammation of a tendon sheath.

Thermoplastic - Plastic that is able to be softened or fused when heated and then hardens again when cooled.

Tibia - The larger inner bone of the lower leg.

Tibial Tubercle - A small rough elevation or projections on the tibial bone.

Transverse Plane - A section that is taken by making a right angle to the long axis of the body.

Tubercle - A small rough elevation or projection on a bone.

Tubular knit - A knitting technique where there are no seams because the product comes off the machine as a tube.


Ulna - The bone on the little finger side of the forearm.

Unicompartmental - Meaning one side.


Valgus - Describes a deformity where the body part is turned outward away from the midline of the body.

Varus - Describes a deformity where the body part is turned inward toward the midline of the body.

Vertebral Column - Also known as the spinal column, forms the supporting axis for the body.

Vertical Plane - A plane that runs upward in the body.

Viscoelastic - When materials are deforming this is when they show both viscous and elastic characteristics.


Window Edema - Swelling takes over the path of minimal resistance.




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