Glossary of Terms

Learning about orthotics and prosthetics can be challenging, overwhelming and confusing.  To make your transition easier, we have compiled a list of terms we commonly use in our practice.

At anytime you do not understand what we are saying or have questions regarding your treatment, please ask.

We know that it can be challenging, overwhelming and confusing when you discover something new; orthotics and prosthetics is no exception. To make your time with us easier to understand we have compiled a list of terms we commonly use in our practice for your review. We know that at first these terms may seem confusing but hopefully they will help explain your treatment with us in terms that you can better understand.

  1. A
  2. B
  3. C
  4. D
  5. E
  6. F
  7. G
  8. H
  9. I
  10. K
  11. L
  12. M
  13. N
  14. O
  15. P
  16. Q
  17. R
  18. S
  19. T
  20. U
  21. V
  22. W

A


practitioners or facilities that are certified by the American Board of Certification


movement of a limb away from the median, or midline of the body


prosthesis utilized for acquired amputations or congenital absence of the hand, forearm and elbow, above the elbow


prosthesis utilized for acquired amputations or congenital absences of the foot, ankle, shin and thigh, above the knee joint level


determination by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics Inc. that an eligible organization satisfactorily complies with all applicable standards


of tendons that insert on the calcaneus near the back of the heel


ACL

anterior cruciate ligament of the knee


movement of a limb toward the median, or midline of the body


scar tissue formed in the healing process which sticks to underlying tissue such as muscle or bone


ADL

activities of daily living


AE

above elbow


AFO

orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders of the ankle and foot below the knee joint


position of prosthetic socket in relation to foot and knee


walking or able to walk


Federal legislation passed in 1990 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, public services and accommodations, and telecommunications


removal of a body part through surgery or trauma


a person with an amputation


orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders of the ankle and foot below the knee joint


orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the ankle


the front of the body


custom plastic AFO and leather ankle gauntlet prescribed to stabilize the foot and ankle


surgical fusion of a joint


brace that bends at a specific spot (hinges)


wasting or decrease in the size of muscle tissue


B


BE

below elbow or trans-radial amputee


pertaining to two sides of the body


applying mechanical principles to the study of how the human body moves


BK

below knee


BKA

below-knee or trans-tibial amputee


BOC

board of certification


board of certification orthotics (certified in orthotics by the board of certification)


the awareness and perception of one’s own body related to both appearance and function


prosthetic cable controlled by shoulder and arm movements for the activation of mechanical prosthetic components


nerve plexus that provide principal nerve to shoulder and forelimbs movement


having the form or nature of a bulb with a large end


C


the back bottom heel bone in the foot


black light weight rigid graphite fibers (cloth) used in the lamination


duplicating a body part’s shape by applying plaster or synthetic material to make a mold of that part


any neuromuscular disability caused by lesions in the brain occurring before birth, at birth, or during infancy


a determination by the American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics Inc. that an eligible organization satisfactorily complies with all applicable patient management standards


the first seven bones of the spinal column


Charcot joint or neuropathic joint, is a progressive condition of the musculoskeletal system that is characterized by joint dislocations, pathologic fractures, and debilitating deformities. This disorder results in progressive destruction of bone and soft tissues at weight-bearing joints


a diagnostic clear socket used to evaluate the fit and comfort of a prosthetic socket before the actual finished socket is fabricated


amputation of the mid foot


lasting long time


lateral circular motion of an extremity, usually describes movement of a foot or leg while walking


disorder of the foot at birth, the foot has a small, elevated heel; a broad twisted forefoot; and a curved outer border


CO

cervical orthosis (neck brace)


CO

cervical orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the cervical spine


CO

certified orthotist


existing from the time of birth


an absent, shortened or abnormal limb present at birth


education and experiences beyond initial professional requirements


abnormal shortening of the muscles tissue, rendering the muscle highly resistant to stretching


the outward appearance of a prosthetic device


a foam material covering the mechanical parts of a prosthesis which is shaped to resemble a body segment


CP

certified prosthetist


CPO

certified prosthetist and orthotist


verification of an individual’s education, training and experience from certifying sources


charcot retaining orthotic walker, custom AFO to unload ankle and foot


cervical thoracic lumbo sacral orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders involving the cervical, thoracic and/or lumbo sacral spine


CTO

cervical thoracic orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders involving the cervical and/or thoracic spine


a device that is made for a specific patient through either an anatomical positive model, anatomical measurements, contour drawings and/or computer imaging


a premade sized device that is fit and/or modified to a patient


D


dynamic ankle foot orthosis


a device designed for long term use


paralysis of all four extremities, with the lower extremities more severely involved than the upper extremities


an amputation through a joint; commonly the hip, shoulder, knee, ankle, elbow, or wrist


the end portion of the extremity, away from the central part of the body, For example, the distal part of the femur (thigh bone) is the knee. The opposite of distal is proximal. The proximal portion of the femur is the hip


the act of taking off a device


the act of putting on a device


the top of an extremity such as the top of the foot or back of the hand


bending the wrist so the top portion of the hand points upward, bending the ankle so the foot raises upward


a condition in which the patient is no longer able to raise their toes and/or foot, the foot drags downward while walking, causing them to trip and fall


a split or dual bowden cable and housing system used for actuation of a single component or control action


means different “density” or strength


E


swelling or containing excess fluid in the body


an electric powered elbow, wrist, hand, or hook component utilized to provide controlled positioning for functional use in the design of a prosthesis


the monitoring or assessment of electrical impulses that are released during voluntary or involuntary muscle contractions of muscles


prosthesis designed with internal rigid supporting structural components. (human body is supported by internal skeleton)


a prosthetic foot designed with a flexible heel. It is designed with a spring that stores energy when weight is applied to it and releases energy to forward motion when the amputee transfers weight to the other foot


EO

elbow orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the elbow


the outward rotation of the plantar surface, or sole, of the foot so that it faces away from the median, or midline, of the body


elbow wrist hand orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders of the elbow, wrist, hand, and/or fingers below the shoulder joint


prostheses designed with external rigid supporting structural components. (Crab body is supported by external skeleton or shell.)


the act of straightening an extremity or joint


a method of assisting the prosthetic limb to “kick forward” on the swing-through phase to help speed up the walking cycle


an anatomical limb i.e. arm or leg


F


orthoses fabricated of cloth fabrics or neoprene as the primary materials in the design of the device


applies to the professional office which a practitioner uses as a base to provide orthotic and/or prosthetic patient care


the second most common type of muscular dystrophy; it usually occurs in adolescent females and males, and is not as disabling as the childhood type


thigh bone


an inner non-rigid socket that contours and bends with the residual limb movement to decrease pressure, promote muscular flexion, improve comfort and increase proprioception


the act of bending a limb or joint


FO

foot orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders of the foot below the ankle joint


G


Referring to the manner or style of walking or locomotion


the exercise of being taught how to walk or run properly


over extension of the knee in the backward position


knees together, commonly known as knock-knee


knees apart, commonly known as bowlegs


H


HD

Hip disarticulation (An amputation of the entire leg at the hip joint.)


the moment when the heel makes contact with the floor at the end of the swing-through phase while walking or running


an amputation of the leg including part of the pelvis


paralysis of one-half of the body, specifically the upper and lower extremities on the same side, and half the trunk of the body


Formation of bone within extra skeletal soft tissues


rules and regulations relating to privacy of patient information


Hip knee ankle foot orthosis


HO

hip orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the hip


HO

hand orthosis


a blend of mechanical, electric powered, and/or passive-mechanical, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand and/or hook components utilized in the design of the prostheses


control of prosthetic knee joint motion through fluid


over-extending the extremity beyond normal anatomical position


I


an initial prosthesis intended for relatively short term (months) use by a new amputee while the residual limb circumferentially reduces and shapes


the inward rotation of the plantar surface, or sole, of the foot so that it faces toward the median, or midline, of the body


immediate post operative prosthesis


Socket designed to include the ischial tuberosity increasing medical and lateral stability


the lower portion of the hip bone (ischial tuberosity) that protrudes from your pelvis; also known as the “sitting” bone, often used for weight bearing


K


knee ankle foot orthosis


KD

knee-disarticulation, amputation through the knee joint


KDP

knee disarticulation prosthesis, utilized for acquired amputations or congenital absences of the foot, ankle and shin at the knee joint level


KO

knee orthosis


exaggerated posterior, or backward, curvature in the thoracic region


L


to the side, away from the mid-line of the body


rotation of a body part away from the median, or midline, of the body, also referred to as external rotation


LE

lower extremity, below the waist


soft material used between the patient’s body and the prosthesis or orthosis for padding


LLD

leg length discrepancy


exaggerated anterior, or forward, curvature in the lumbar or cervical regions


LSO

lumbo sacral orthosis, an orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the lumbo sacral spine


the five spinal vertebrae in the lower back


M


metal ankle foot orthosis


MCL

medial collateral ligament of the knee


Elbow, hand and/or hook components controlled by using shoulder and arm movements harnessed within a Bowden cable control system for the actuation and movement of the components utilized in the design of the prostheses


toward the mid-line of the body


medial (Internal) Rotation: The rotation of a body part toward the median, or midline, of the body. Also referred to as internal rotation


the vertical plane that divides the body into right and left halves


five bones of the foot between the toes and tarsal joint


prosthetic knee motions controlled by computer chips and software programming


paralysis of any one extremity


prosthetic foot which allows inversion and eversion and rotation of the foot, and is effective for walking on uneven surfaces


a hereditary disease involving progressive destruction of the skeletal and cardiac muscles


pertains to the muscles and skeleton


a battery powered prosthesis using sensors on the skin to operate it


N


bone along the inside arch area of the foot


cellular or tissue death within the living body, such as with gangrene


vacuum. In relation to prosthetics, elevated negative pressure is used to provide superior interface with skin and tissue which increases comfort, control and proprioception of the prosthesis


doctor who studies nerves and their function


the end of a nerve left after amputation which continues to grow in a cauliflower shape, that can be painful, especially when they are located in places where they are subject to pressure from the prosthetic socket


pertains to the nerves and the muscles


O


a medical doctor who studies bones


the plural form of orthosis


a device fitted to the body to protect, stabilize, or immobilize a body part; i.e. a brace


the profession of providing devices (braces) to support and straighten the body


a professional who designs and fits orthotic devices, braces


OTS

off the shelf


P


plastic ankle foot orthosis


bending the wrist so the palmar surface of the hand points toward the forearm


the front, or palm, of the hand, also referred to as the volar surface


complete loss of the ability to control muscular activity in various locations


paralysis of one-half of the body, specifically the lower portion of the trunk and both lower extremities


amputation through any part of the foot leaving the ankle intact


devices that are positioned manually through friction or positive locking mechanisms


prostheses controlled by using pre-positioning of a manually operated friction, free motion, or locking type joint for the actuation and movement of a mechanical prosthetic component


knee cap


the science treating of the essential nature of disease, especially of the changes in the body tissue and organs, which cause or are caused by disease


PCL

posterior cruciate ligament of the knee


science related to the design, manufacture, modification and fit of shoes and foot orthosis


practitioner trained in providing pedorthic services


foot deformity where the ankle is dorsiflexed and the toes are elevated which causes the weight to be borne primarily on the heel


the exaggerated height of the longitudinal arch of the foot


present when the ankle is plantar flexed and the heel is elevated. This causes the weight to be borne primarily on the toes


commonly known as flatfoot, the foot looks flat and is almost always bent out-ward


an acquired deformity where the weight is borne on the inner border of the foot and the sole is turned outward


a deformity in which the weight is borne on the outer border of the foot and the sole of the foot is turned inward


proximal femoral focal deficiency, shortened femur (thigh) bone


PFP

partial foot prosthesis, utilized for acquired amputations or congenital absences of the foot and/or toes below the ankle


the feeling of pain in a part of the body that is no longer there following amputation


the sensation of still feeling a body part although it is not there following an amputation of that body part


PHP

partial hand prosthesis, utilized for acquired amputations or congenital absences of the hand and/or fingers below the wrist


a medical doctor specializing in rehabilitation


profession specializing in treatment of patients to increase their strength, balance, range of motion through physical exercise


the up and down movement of the residual limb inside the prosthetic socket


bending the ankle in a downward position


bottom, or sole, of the foot


Ply

thickness of a prosthetic sock, the higher the ply number, the thicker the sock


Control of prosthetic knee motion through air


single linear type pull-switch used for actuation of two opposing functions of an electric powered component allowing proportional control of speed, force and positioning


back of an extremity or the body


pressure relief ankle foot orthosis


pre-made orthosis, i.e. small, medium, and large


hand – the forearm so that the hand rests palm down, foot – the arch presses down and inward


the sense of the orientation of one’s limbs in space


the plural form of prosthesis


an artificial part of the body, an artificial limb


The science or profession of designing, fitting and fabrication of artificial limbs


a professional who designs and fits prosthetic devices


a structure that is located closer to the attached end of a limb. For example, the proximal end of the femur is part of the hip joint. The opposite of proximal is distal


a congenital anomaly where the proximal femur is lacking at birth


childhood muscular dystrophy which displays a false athletic-type enlargement created by extensive fatty deposits in the degenerating calf and shoulder; most common type of muscular dystrophy


dual micro-switches used for momentary actuation of two functions of an electric powered component with a pulling motion or of multiple functions with multiple switches and components


a single micro-switch used for momentary actuation of a single function of an electric powered component with a pushing motion or of multiple functions with multiple switches and components


a rigid tube between the socket or knee unit and the foot that provides a weight bearing support shaft for a prosthesis


Q


front thigh muscles that control knee flexion


limb loss involving four limbs


paralysis of all four extremities and the trunk, also known as tetraplegia


R


the small of the two large bones in the forearm and is located on the same side of the arm as the thumb


the front, middle portion of the pubic bone (in the groin area)


the amount of movement a limb has in a specific direction at the joint


those individuals or organizations qualified to refer a patient for orthotic/prosthetic treatment


portion of the limb remaining after amputation


backward movement of a body part such as the shoulder


surgical modification of the residual limb


rounded tapered shoe soles bottoms that allow the foot to roll forward during stance and decrease the forward pressure on the foot


dual micro-switches used for momentary actuation of two functions of an electric powered component with a rocker motion or of multiple functions with multiple switches and components


ROM

range of motion, the number of degrees a joint bends


a circular or turning movement of a body part, such as the back or head, around its axis


S


the bone at the bottom of the spine commonly referred to as the “tail bone”


a lateral (side to side) curvature of the spine in the thoracic and/or lumbar regions


shoulder elbow wrist hand orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, and/or fingers


nylon prosthetic sock, usually worn next to the skin, it pulls moisture away from the skin and decreases friction


an elastic sock that is worn over the residual limb to help control swelling and/or shrink the residual limb in preparation for prosthetic fitting


a belt that is used as suspension for an above knee prosthesis


roll-on flexible air tight liner that goes over the skin, may or may not include suspension mechanism


a single bowden cable and housing system used for actuation of a single component or control action of an upper extremity prosthesis


a single EMG muscle potential site used for proportional or digital actuation of a single function of an electric powered component with a single myoelectric control processor


a single EMG muscle potential site used for proportional or digital actuation of two opposing functions of an electric powered component with a dual control myoelectric control processor


SMO

supra malleolar orthosis, orthosis that extends above the ankle joint


SO

shoulder orthosis, orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the shoulder


SO

spinal orthosis, a brace applied to the neck or back


SO

sacral orthosis, orthosis utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the sacrum


the portion of the prosthesis in which the residual limb fits


congenital malformation of the vertebral column. In prenatal life the column fails to develop and close normally, and a portion of the bony spine remains separated in two sections


phase of gait when the foot is in contact with the ground


device with an adjustable brake mechanism to add stability to an prosthetic or orthotic knee


Prosthetic knee unit that mimics normal knee flexion at heel strike


the bone in the front center of the chest


a less commonly used word that describes the remaining limb


a special sock used with a prosthesis to adjust the fit of the leg or arm in the prosthetic socket


holding the prosthesis on the residual limb with negative pressure


the movement of the forearm so that the hand rests palm up on a surface, foot positioned leaning toward the outside


the method by which a prosthesis or orthosis is held on to the body


a Neoprene or rubber “sleeve” that helps secure a prosthesis to the body


phase of the gait cycle where the knee goes from flexion to extension with the foot above the ground


prosthetic movement controlled by using shoulder and arm movements for the actuation and movement of an electric powered prosthetic component


an amputation through the ankle joint that retains the heel pad and is intended to provide end weight-bearing


a prosthesis designed to accommodate a ankle disarticulation amputation


T


commonly known as clubfoot. In this disorder the foot has a small, elevated heel; a broad twisted forefoot; and a curved outer border


the functional device at the end of a prosthesis; i.e. a hand or a foot


a diagnostic clear socket used to evaluate the fit and comfort of a prosthetic socket before the actual finished socket is fabricated


Solid base plastic that is heat moldable


Liquid base plastics that require heat/chemicals to cure and become hard


the 12 vertebrae that make up the middle segment of the spine, below the cervical and above the lumbar spine


thoracic lumbo sacral orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders involving the thoracic and lumbosacral spine


total surface area support in an orthosis or prosthesis to diminish excessive pressure in any one area


amputation of entire lower limb, plus a portion of the pelvic bone; may also be referred to as a hemipelvectomy


limb loss involving three limbs


Multiple bowden cable and housing systems used for actuation of more than one component or control action


Paralysis of any three extremities


the use of dual EMG muscle potential sites used for proportional or digital actuation of five functions of two electric powered hand, elbow and/or wrist components with a multi-functional control multiplex myoelectric processor. One of the five functions is used for mode switching between the two components being controlled


The use of dual EMG muscle potential sites used for proportional or digital actuation of two opposing functions of an electric powered component with a dual control myoelectric processor


U


UE

upper extremity, relating to the arm


deep sore caused by pressure


the larger of the two large bones in the forearm and is located on the same side of the arm as the little finger


pertaining to one particular segment of the body


a knee orthosis that un-weights either the inside or the outside portion of the joint knee to reduce contact and pain


V


deformity of the foot resulting in the outward rotation of the plantar surface, or sole, of the foot so that it faces away from the median, or midline, of the body.(Knee bow legged.)


deformity of the foot resulting in the inward rotation of the plantar surface, or sole, of the foot so that it faces toward the median, or midline, of the body.(Knee knock kneed.)


bones of the spine


W


WHO

wrist hand orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders of the wrist, hand, and/or fingers below the elbow joint


WO

wrist orthosis, utilized for the treatment of disorders only involving the wrist