This Glossary is a helpful listing of common orthopaedic terms with simple definitions. Patients are advised to ask their physician for more details.
You may click on a letter below to narrow your search.
Olecranon Bursa – Bursa in the elbow.
Open Fracture – A compound fracture where the broken bone is visible; there is an open wound.
Open Reduction Internal Fixation (ORIF) – Procedure that involves incising the skin and soft tissue to repair a fracture under direction visualization which includes the utilization of internal hardware to repair the fracture.
Orthopaedic (Orthopedic) Surgeon – The physician who diagnosis, treats, manages the rehabilitation process, and provides prevention protocols for patients who suffer from injury or disease in any of the components of the musculoskeletal system.
Orthopaedic (Orthopedic) Surgery – The medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of injuries and diseases of the body’s musculoskeletal system.
Osteoarthritis – Generally, a condition caused by wear and tear that causes inflammation of the joint resulting in pain, swelling, and stiffness.
Osteomyelitis – Inflammation of bone marrow, cortex, tissue, and periosteum due to infection.
Osteoporosis – A condition that develops when bone is no longer replaced as quickly as it is removed. Bone is abnormally brittle and less dense.
Osteotomy – A surgical procedure that changes the alignment of bone with or without removing a portion of that bone.
Patella Tendinitis – Condition that results in pain and inflammation of the patella tendon; common in jumping sports.
Patellofemoral Joint – Space between the patella and the femur.
Pathological Fracture – Fracture caused by a normal load on an abnormal bone, which is often weakened by tumor, infection, or metabolic bone disease. Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) – The ligament located in the center of the knees that controls backward movement of the tibia (shin bone.)
Phalanges – Individual bones that make up the fingers and toes.
Phonophoresis – Therapeutic application of ultrasound with a topical drug, most commonly corticosteroid.
Physical Therapy – The treatment consisting of exercising specific parts of the body, such as legs, arms, hands, or neck in an effort to strengthen, repair range of motion, relearn movement and/or rehabilitate the musculoskeletal system to improve function.
Plantar Fasciitis – Irritation of the plantar facia – the long band of connecting tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot. Posterior – Located behind a structure, such as relating to the back side of the human body.
Proximal – Situated closer to the trunk of the body.
Radiculopathy – Disease of the nerve roots.
Range of Motion (ROM) – Amount of movement in a joint.
Resection – The surgical removal of part of a structure, such as bone.
R.I.C.E. Treatment – The method of treatment of an acute injury using “Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.”
Rotator Cuff – Area of the shoulder that is comprised of four muscles and their tendons which combine to form a “cuff over the head of the humerus.
Rotator Cuff Tear – Tear of the one or more of the rotator cuff tendons.
Rotator Cuff Tendinitis – Inflammation of the rotator cuff and associated bursal sac.
Scoliosis – Sideways curvature of the spine; a lateral and rotational deviation of the spine.
Shin Splints – Damage to one of the two groups of muscles along the shin bone, causing pain.
SLAP Lesion – An injury to the biceps tendon and/or superior labrum. (Superior Labral, Anterior to Posterior)
Spinal Canal – Bony channel that is formed by the intervertebral foramen of the vertebrae and in which the spinal cord and nerve roots are contained.
Spinal Column – Flexible bone column extending from the base of the skull to the tailbone, and is made up of 33 bones known as vertebrae. (vertebral column, spine, backbone)
Spinal Cord – Extension of the brain composed of virtually all the nerves carrying messages between the brain and the rest of the body. It lies inside of and is protected by the vertebrae and the spinal column.
Spinal Decompression – A procedure carried out to relieve the pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots. This may be accomplished by removing some bone from the vertebra or by removing the disc.
Spinal Stenosis – Narrowing of the canal housing the spinal cord.
Spondylitis – Inflammation of vertebrae.
Spondylolisthesis – Displacement of a vertebral body on the one below.
Spondylolysis – Defect in the neural arch between the superior and inferior facts of vertebrae without separation at the defect, and therefore no displacement of the vertebrae.
Sports Medicine – The practice of medicine that physicians and other health professionals provide to athletes.
Sprain – A partial or complete tear of a ligament.
Stenosis – Reduction in the diameter of the spinal canal due to new bone formation which may result in pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots.
Stinger – Neurapraxia (temporary loss of neural function) from a strength injury to the brachial plexus, most commonly seen in football players; also called a Burner.
Strain – A partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon.
Stress fracture – A bone injury caused by overuse.
Synovial Fluid – A fluid that is released by the synovial membrane and acts as a lubricant for joints and tendons.
Synovitis – Condition characterized by inflammation of the synovial lining.
Synovium – A fibrous envelope that procedures a fluid to help reduce friction and wear in a joint.
Tendon – Extension of muscle into a firm, fibrous cord that attaches into a bone or other firm structure.
Tendonitis – Inflammation of a tendon.
Tennis Elbow – Pain caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist backward away from the palm.
Thoracic – The 12 vertebra located between the cervical and lumbar vertebra.
Total Joint Replacement – Replacement of a joint involving an internal prosthesis by removing the diseased joint and replacing it with metal or plastic components.
Trigger Finger – Catching or locking of a finger.
Tuberosity – Prominence on a bone where tendon.
Turf Toe – A hyper-extension injury of the first metatarsophalangeal joint associated with athletic activity of hard surfaces.
Ultrasound – A diagnostic procedure that utilized high-frequency sound waves to create an image of the internal organs.
Vertebra – One of the 33 bones of the spinal column. There are 7 cervical vertebra forming the neck; 12 thoracic vertebra in the middle back and 5 lumbar vertebra in the lower back.
X-ray – A diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones and organs on film.