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Glossary/Definitions

A wide variety of abbreviations and terms are specific to the medical setting. Learn the meaning behind these words and letters.

Plyometric Exercise
Plyometric exercise may be an important part of your exercise routine in physical therapy.

Goniometer
Definition of a goniometer, a tool used in physical therapy to measure range of motion.

Fracture Reduction
Learn how your doctor can fix a broken bone and how physical therapy can help improve function after a fracture.

Residual Limb
Learn about what a residual limb is in the physical therapy management of amputations.

Paresthesia
Paresthesia is the term used for an abnormal sensation of the skin.

Spondylolisthesis
Spondylolisthesis occurs when anterior displacement of a vertebra or the vertebral column in relation to the vertebrae below occurs.

Yoga Therapy
Yoga therapy is the combination of physical therapy and yoga poses to help with rehabilitation.

Foot Drop - Definition of Foot Drop
Foot drop describes a condition where the ankle can not lift the foot off the ground.

Trigger Point
A trigger point is a taught band of muscle that can refer pain to various parts of the body.

Sciatica - Definition of Sciatica
Sciatica refers to a condition where the sciatic nerve is compressed and results in pain radiating down the leg.

Coccydynia
Coccydynia is a condition when there is tail of the coccyx otherwise known as the tail bone.

Eccentric Strengthening
Eccentric muscles strengthening describes loading a muscle as it lengthens in size.

Kegel Exercises
Kegels are exercises strengthen the pelvic floor muscles, which support the uterus, bladder and bowel.

CRPS - Definition of CRPS
CRPS, or complex regional pain syndrome is a condition that occurs when there is prolonged pain in an injured extremity.

How Long Should You Ice An Injury
Icing an injury helps to slows the inflammation and swelling that occurs after damage to a muscle, tendon, or ligament.

Paresis
Paresis refers to incomplete paralysis.

Minimally Invasive Surgeries
Minimally surgeries are performed through small incisions.

Proprioception
Proprioception is the term that refers to the ability to determine the orientation of one's arm or leg in the air.

Complex Regional Pain Syndrome
Complex regional pain syndrome, or CRPS, is a painful condition that affects the arms or legs after some form of injury has occurred

Plantar Fasciitis
Plantar fasciitis is an inflammation of the plantar fascia that runs from the heel bone in the foot to the toes.

Clubfoot
Clubfoot describes a congenital abnormality involving the legs and feet.

Understanding Physical Therapy Exercises
In medicine various movements are described using medical terms. Learn their meanings for a better understand your therapists terminology.

AC Joint
Definition of AC Joint

Understanding Physical Therapy Exercises
In medicine various movements are described using medical terms. Learn their meanings for a better understand your therapists terminology.

Sprain
A sprain refers an injury sustained to a ligament in the body.

Iontophoresis
Iontophoresis is the use of electrical current to deliver medication through the skin.

Physical Therapy Assistant
A description of the role of a physical therapy assistant

Hemarthrosis
Hemarthrosis describes bleeding in a joint.

Extension
Extension describes the motion of increasing the angle of the joint.

Centralization
Centralization can help you determine if the exercise you are performing is the right one for your back pain or neck pain.

Flexion
Flexion describes a movement that entails decreasing the angle of a body part.

Adduction
Adduction describes a motion that involves bringing an extremity back to the body's midline.

Abduction
Abduction refers to moving an extremity away from the body.

Arthroscopic Surgery
Arthroscopic surgery is a less-invasive procedure for surgeons to diagnose and repair joint injuries.

Metatarsalgia
Metatarsalgia is a condition used to describe a painful foot condition in the area just before the toes, or the ball-of-the-foot.

Spasticity
Spasticity is a condition in which certain muscles are continuously contracted.

The Gait Cycle
A look at the phases of the gait cycle.

Bursitis
Bursitis is inflammation of the fluid filled sacs, bursa, that cushion areas of pressure between joints, muscles, and tendons.

Physical Therapy Abbreviations
Physical therapists often use medical abbreviations in their note writing. To the non-trained therapists, these can often be confusing. Below is a list of commonly used therapy abbreviations. Now you too can understand your therapist’s note![

Tendonitis
Tendonitis is an inflammatory condition that affects the tissue that connects muscle to bones. Read about this term here.

Stroke
A stroke is also known as a cva, or cerebrovascular accident. Learn more about the definition of stroke in this glossary.

Neurology
Neurology is the medical science of the nervous system.

Geriatrics
Geriatrics is the study of medicine pertaining to the elderly and disease processes of aging.

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy
Reflex sympathetic dystrophy is a condition of increased sympathetic discharge in an extremity that often occurs after trauma.

Physical Therapy Modalities
Physical therapy modalities are a variety of treatment tools used by therapists to decrease pain, inflammation, and treat muscle strains.

Electrical Stimulation- Physical Therapy Modalities
Electrical stimulation is a physical therapy modality used to strengthen muscles and promote healing.

TENS- Physial Therapy Modalities
A TENS unit stands for transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. It is a small battery operated machine used by physical therapists to decrease pain

Ultrasound- Physical Therapy Modalities
Ultrasound machines are a treatment modality used by physical therapists that utilize high or low frequency sound waves.

Cold Packs- Physical Therapy Modalities
Cold packs are a frozen gel substance used by physical therapists to treat areas of pain and inflammation.

Hot Packs- Physical Therapy Modalities
Hot packs are a modality used by physical therapists to decrease pain due to muscle strains and spasms.

Radicular Pain
Radicular pain is often due to disc herniation. Find out what "radicular" means in this glossary overview.

Physical Therapy Abbreviations
The words behind abbreviations used in physical therapy are uncovered in this glossary.

Gait
Gait is a common term used by health care professionals. Learn what gait refers to and its various forms.

DVT- Deep Vein Thrombosis
DVT refers to deep vein thrombosis, a term used to describe blood clots in the arms, and most commonly the legs.

Orthotics - Definition
Provides a definition of orthotics

RICE- Rest, Ice Compression, Elevation
RICE is a commonly used acronym for the management of acute soft tissue injuries. Discover the meaning behind these letters so that you can use this treatment if necessary.

Incontinence - Definition
Learn what incontinence is and the four most common types.

Ergonomics - Definition
Definition of Ergonomics.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Definition
Definition of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Congenital - Definition
Definition of Congenital

Medical Abbreviations
Review hundreds of common medical abbreviations found on prescriptions, medical records, and physician orders.

Medical Dictionary
The National Institutes of Health provides a free online medical dictionary to assist in defining medical terminology.

Acronyms Used In Medicine
Browse alphabetically through four hundred and nineteen common medical acronyms.

Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Stedman's is one of the most commonly known dictionaries for health professionals. Use their online word search at no cost.

Smith's Fracture
Learn what a Smith's fracture is and how physical therapy can help you recover fully from a Smith's fracture.

Upper Body Ergometer
Learn about the upper body ergometer exercise machine and how it is used in physical therapy.

Shoulder Painful Arc
A painful arc can be a sign of shoulder impingement. Learn about how physical therapy can help if you have a painful arc in your shoulder.

Spell Check
Unsure how to correctly spell medical terms? Verify your spelling online with Spellex.

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