Glossary

A-D Return to top

Abduction
Movement of a limb away from the body.
Abductor muscles
A group of muscles in the outer thigh that control abduction at the hip.
Acetabulum
The socket in the pelvic bone that forms part of the hip joint with the femoral head (top of the thighbone).
Acetaminophen
A medication used to relieve pain and reduce fever.
Achilles tendinitis
An inflammation of the Achilles tendon usually caused by overuse.
Achilles tendon
The largest, strongest tendon in the body connecting the calf muscles to the heel bone. It enables people to walk, run, and jump.
Acromioclavicular (AC) joint
The joint that connects acromion of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the clavicle (collarbone).
Acromion
A large bony projection on the top part of the scapula (shoulder blade).
Acupuncture
An ancient Chinese practice that involves inserting thin needles at various sites on the body to relieve pain or influence other body processes. Today, doctors use acupuncture for problems as diverse as addiction, morning sickness, and back pain.
Acute back pain
The most common type of back pain. Acute back pain often begins suddenly, for example after a fall or injury, and lasts for six weeks or less.
Adduction
Movement of a limb toward the body.
Adductor muscles
A group of muscles in the inner thigh that control adduction at the hip.
Aerobic exercises
Exercises to help improve circulation, the overall function of your body, and help prevent weight gain. These exercises are moderate intensity for a time period of at least 30 minutes with a minimum of a 5 minute warm-up at 50-60% of maximum heart rate, followed by at least 20 minutes of 70-80% intensity, and finally a minimum of 5 minutes of 50-60% intensity cool down.
Analgesic
A type of drug used for pain relief.
Ankle
The joint that connects the talus (anklebone) and the tibia and fibula (lower leg bones). This joint is supported and stabilized by three groups of ligaments to hold the bones and joint in place.
Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL)
A ligament that connects the front of the tibia (shinbone) to the back of the femur (thighbone). Its function is to limit rotation and forward motion of the tibia.
Anterior dislocation
An injury that occurs when a bone is pushed forward out of the joint.
Anti-anxiety medication
Prescription medication used primarily to reduce anxiety.
Anticonvulsant
Prescription medication used primarily to treat seizures.
Anti-depressant
Prescription medication used primarily to elevate mood and dull pain signals.
Anxiety
A mental health disorder characterized by feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with daily activity.
Arthritis
Inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and stiffness, and resulting from infection, trauma, degenerative changes, metabolic disturbances, or other causes.
Arthrogram
An x-ray of a joint that has been injected with a contrast fluid. Contrast fluid may leak into an area where it does not belong, indicating a tear or opening, or be blocked from entering an area where there normally is an opening indicating an obstruction. This test is helpful in diagnosing disease or injury.
Arthroscope
A small, tubular instrument, frequently with a camera attached, that is inserted into a joint through a small incision. The arthroscope is used to visualize the internal structures of a joint.
Arthroscopic surgery
A surgical procedure that involves making small incisions near a joint (e.g., the knee). An arthroscope is then inserted through the incision. This procedure allows the provider to view the damaged area and to repair damaged structures. Arthroscopic surgery is usually fairly quick, involves a minimum level of discomfort, and has a high success rate.
Articular cartilage
Highly specialized connective tissue that provides a smooth, lubricated surface for movement in certain joints.
Atrophy
The weakening or wasting of a muscle or organ of the body because of injury, disease, or lack of use.
Bone scan (radionuclide scanning)
A technique for creating images of bones on a computer screen. A contrast material is injected into the bloodstream. The material then collects in the bones and in any abnormal areas, and is detected by a scanner.
Bone spurs
Also called osteophytes, these are abnormal bony projections that form along joint margins.
Brace
A support used to stabilize an injury.
Brainstem
The lower extension of the brain where it connects to the spinal cord.
Bursal sacs
The fluid-filled membranes within and around joints. Bursal sacs cushion joints and help to minimize friction between bones and muscles.
Bursitis
A common joint injury occurring when bursal sacs become inflamed. Common causes of bursitis are disease (such as arthritis) and athletic or other activities causing overuse of the affected joint.
Cardiovascular
Relating to the heart or blood vessels. Also known as the circulatory system, the cardiovascular system is an organ system comprised of the heart, blood, and blood vessels, which carry nutrients and oxygen throughout the body.
Carpal tunnel
The passageway, formed by the carpals and transverse carpal ligament, for the tendons and nerves of the hand.
Carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS)
Swelling of the tendons within the carpal tunnel, which compresses the median nerve. CTS can cause numbness, tingling, burning, and pain. This condition is seen more frequently in those with rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, and other metabolic conditions that make the nerves more susceptible to compression. CTS is aggravated by forceful and repetitive motions of the hand, wrist, and arm.
Carpal bones
The cluster of eight bones in the wrist. These bones are covered on the palm side by a thick ligament, called the transverse carpal ligament, forming the carpal tunnel.
Cartilage
Cartilage is a tough, elastic tissue found throughout the body, such as the nose, ears, ribcage, larynx, joints, and other areas. In the joints, cartilage functions to cushion, pad, and provide smooth surfaces for movement.
Cast
A casing made of plaster or fiberglass used to keep a broken bone in place during the healing process.
Cervical vertebrae
The vertebrae of the neck, immediately below the skull. There are seven cervical vertebrae, numbered C1 through C7.
Chiropractor
Someone who practices chiropractic. Chiropractic is defined as a system of diagnosis and treatment that is based on the concept that the nervous system coordinates all of the body's functions and that disease results from a lack of normal nerve function. Chiropractors work to manipulate the spine to realign the vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves.
Chronic back pain
The least common type of back pain. Chronic pain may begin either quickly or slowly; it generally lasts for 12 weeks or more.
Clavicle
Also known as the collarbone, the clavicle is a long curved bone that connects the upper part of the sternum (breastbone) to the scapula (shoulder blade).
Coccyx (coccygeal vertebrae)
The smallest and bottommost region of the spine formed by three or more fused vertebrae. The coccyx is often referred to as the tailbone.
Cognitive-behavior therapy
A therapy that helps people in the way they think (cognitive) and in the way they act (behavior). A highly structured psychotherapeutic method used to alter distorted attitudes and problem behavior by identifying and replacing negative, inaccurate thoughts and changing the rewards for behaviors.
Collateral ligaments
Ligaments that provide medial (toward the midline of the body) and lateral (toward the outside of the body) stability to a joint.
Compression
The “C” in P.R.I.C.E. therapy, referring to use of a compression bandage or an ace wrap applied to the area of sprain, strain, or injury. A compression wrap should be applied lightly to reduce swelling and provide light support to the affected area.
Computerized axial tomography (CT scan)
A painless procedure in which x-rays are passed through the affected area at different angles, detected by a scanner, and analyzed by a computer. CT scan images show soft tissues such as ligaments or muscles more clearly than conventional x-rays. The computer can combine individual images to produce a three-dimensional picture.
Coracoclavicular ligaments (CCL)
Ligaments in the shoulder that connect the coracoid process of the scapula (shoulder blade) to the clavicle (collarbone). The CCL keep the shoulder square.
Coracoid process
A short, bony projection on the front, top part the scapula (shoulder blade).
Corticosteroid
A class of steroid medicines that are used to provide inflammation relief.
Counter-irritant
Something such as heat or an ointment that is used to produce surface irritation of the skin, thereby counteracting underlying pain or discomfort.
Cubital tunnel
A passageway, formed by the medial epicondyle and the olecranon, through which the ulnar nerve runs in the elbow. Where the ulnar nerve runs under the medial epicondyle is sometimes called “the funny bone” because bumping it causes a shock-like, tingling sensation.
Degenerative disc disease
A deterioration of intervertebral discs that some people experience as they age. This condition can cause some discs to break down and may cause severe pain.
Depression
A common but serious mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.
Dislocation
An injury that occurs when a bone becomes displaced from a joint or misaligned from the joint. There is usually damage to ligaments with a dislocation, and the risk for reoccurrence increases with each dislocation of a particular joint.
Distal humerus
The lower end of the humerus (upper arm bone), which forms part of the elbow.
Disuse atrophy
A type of muscle atrophy, or muscle wasting, that occurs when a muscle is inactive for too long.

E-I Return to top

Elbow
A joint made up of the humerus (upper arm bone), ulna and radius (forearm bones), cartilage, and ligaments. Muscles and tendons help the elbow joint move.
Electrical stimulation
A therapeutic treatment that elicits muscle contraction using electrical impulses.
Electromyography (EMG)
A test that measures the electrical response of muscle contraction.
Elevation
The “E” in P.R.I.C.E. therapy, referring to raising the affected limb above the level of the heart to reduce swelling.
Endorphins
Natural hormones released in the brain during exercise. Endorphins cause an analgesic (pain relief) effect.
Extension
A bending movement around a joint, such as the wrist or ankle, that increases the angle between the bones of the limb at the joint.
Extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB)
A tendon in the forearm that attaches forearm muscles to the lateral epicondyle. This tendon is the one most often affected by “tennis elbow.”
Extensor muscles (back)
Muscles that are attached to the back of the spine and enable standing up and lifting things.
Extensor tendons (elbow)
A group of tendons in the elbow that allow extension of the arm.
External hinge
A device used after surgical repair of a dislocation to protect the elbow from dislocating again.
Femoral artery
A large artery in the thigh that passes through the hip region. It is the main arterial supply for the leg.
Femoral head
The ball-like top of the femur (thighbone) that forms part of the hip joint with the acetabulum (socket in the pelvis).
Femoral nerve
A nerve that passes through the hip and controls sensation and movement in the upper thigh and inner leg.
Femur
The longest and strongest bone in the human body, the femur is also known as the thighbone.
Fibrocartilage
Cartilage that contains fibrous bundles of a structural protein called collagen.
Fibula
Also known as the calf bone, it is the smaller of the two bones of the lower leg below the knee. The fibula forms part of the ankle joint.
Flexion
A bending movement around a joint, such as the knee or elbow, that decreases the angle between the bones of the limb at the joint.
Flexor muscles (back)
Muscles, including the abdominal muscles, that attach in front of the spine and give us the ability to bend forward, or flex, and play an important part in controlling the arch in the lower back.
Flexor/pronator muscles
A group of muscles in the forearm that control flexion at the wrist and pronation at the elbow.
Flexor/pronator tendons
A group of tendons in the elbow and forearm that enable flexion at the wrist and pronation at the elbow.
Forearm
The lower part of the arm, extending from the elbow to the wrist.
Fracture
A bone break that can be caused by a variety of medical conditions, stress, or trauma. Fractures can be classified in several contexts such as open or closed. Additionally, fractures can be described according to how they appear, for example a spiral fracture, complete fracture, or compression fracture. A broken bone is the same thing as a fractured bone.
Glenohumeral joint
Also known as the shoulder joint, it is the ball-and-socket joint that conncects the humerus (upper arm bone) and the glenoid of the scapula (shoulder blade).
Glenohumeral ligaments (GHL)
Ligaments that surround the glenohumeral joint and connect the humerus (upper arm bone) to the glenoid of the scapula (shoulder blade). The GHL provide stability to the entire shoulder.
Glenoid
A cup-shaped cavity or socket in the scapula (shoulder blade) that holds the head of the humerus (upper arm bone).
Gluteal
A large group of muscles in the buttocks.
Gout
A medical condition characterized by crystals of uric acid forming in the connective tissue or joint spaces due to improper uric acid metabolism. These deposits cause an inflammatory reaction, which is characterized by symptoms of swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joint. Most commonly, gout is experienced in the big toe.
Greater trochanter bursa
The bursal sac that covers the bony point on the outside of the hip. It is one of two bursal sacs in the hip that are most susceptible to bursitis.
Groin
The area between the abdomen and the thigh on either side of the pubic bone.
Hamstrings
Three muscles at the back of the thigh that control extension at the hip and flexion at the knee.
Herniated disc
Trauma or injury to the back can cause the intervertebral discs to rupture or to protrude (herniate) from the spinal column; the disc then presses on the branching nerves. This pressure on the surrounding nerves can cause pain, weakness, or numbness.
Hip
The joint that connects the femur (thighbone) to the pelvic bone. Hips are considered ball-and-socket joints because the ball-like top of the femur moves within a socket in the pelvis.
Hip flexors
The group of muscles in the hip that control flexion.
Hip replacement
A surgical procedure that removes a damaged hip and replaces it with a prosthetic hip. Surgical goals are pain relief, improved mobility, and improved function of the hip joint.
Ulnohumeral joint
One of two joints that make up the elbow. It connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the ulna (pinky-side forearm bone) and enables flexion and extension of the arm.
Humerus
The large, long bone of the upper arm that extends from the shoulder to the elbow.
Ibuprofen
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication used to relieve pain and fever. Ibuprofen is available in both over-the-counter and prescription strength.
Iliopsoas bursa
A bursal sac located on the inside of the hip. It is one of two bursal sacs in the hip that are most susceptible to bursitis.
Iliopsoas muscle
The combination of two muscles (the psoas major and the iliacus) that begins in the lower back and connects to the upper femur (thighbone).
Iliotibial band
Also known as the IT band or iliotibial tract, it is a thick strip of connective tissue connecting several muscles on the outside of the thigh. It plays an important role in the movement of the thigh by connecting hip muscles to the tibia (shinbone).
Imaging test
A type of test that makes detailed pictures of areas inside the body.
Immobilized
Refers to restricting the mobility of a joint or limb to promote healing. Many orthopedic injuries are immobilized by splints or casts.
Intensive interdisciplinary rehab
Psychological interventions and exercise therapy, with cognitive/behavioral emphasis, that can be used for patients with non-radicular low back pain who do not respond to conventional, non-interdisciplinary therapies.
Intervertebral disc
Tough, flexible shock absorbers between each vertebra. They keep the bones of the vertebrae from rubbing together and act like coiled springs, allowing range of motion and helping the body to maintain balance.
Intramedullary nail
Also known as an intramedullary rod, it is a metal rod that is placed in the marrow canal, or intramedullary cavity, of a bone to treat a fracture.
Isometric exercise
A form of exercise characterized by static muscle contraction where joints and muscles are frequently worked against immovable forces. It is a type of strength training in which the joint angle and muscle length do not change during contraction. Examples of isometrics include: resistance bands, free weights, and pushing against a fixed object.
Isotonic exercises
A form of exercise characterized by increasing tension and shortening and lengthening of the muscle with specific activities. Examples of isotonic exercise include: running, lifting, and skating.

J-O Return to top

Joint aspiration
A procedure that uses a syringe to remove fluid buildup in a joint. This procedure can reduce swelling and relieve pressure. A laboratory analysis of the fluid can determine the presence of an infection or an inflammatory response, such as arthritis or gout.
Joint
The connection of two or more bones. Joints provide mobility and support.
Jumper's knee
Patellar tendinitis resulting from overuse; frequently from sports that require jumping, such as high/long jumping, basketball, or volleyball.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis
A form of rheumatoid arthritis that occurs in children.
Knee
Consists of two joints. The first is called the patello-femoral joint, which is where the femur (thighbone) connects with the patella (kneecap). The second joint is the tibio-femoral joint, where the femur hinges with the tibia (the larger of the two lower leg bones).
Labrum (hip)
A ring of fibrocartilage that surrounds the acetabulum (socket) of the pelvis and forms a gasket around the femoral head (top of the thighbone).
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) (elbow)
The lateral collateral ligament helps to stabilize the elbow, limiting side-to-side motion. It runs along the outside of the elbow.
Lateral collateral ligament (LCL) (knee)
The lateral collateral ligament helps to stabilize the knee, limiting side-to-side motion. It runs along the outside of the knee.
Lateral epicondyle
A bony bump on the lateral (outer) side of the bottom of the humerus (upper arm bone).
Lateral epicondylitis
Commonly known as “tennis elbow,” it is tendinitis that most often affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon, which attaches to a bony bump on the bottom of the humerus (upper arm bone) called the lateral epicondyle.
Lateral ligament
Any of various ligaments (such as the lateral ligament of the ankle, or the lateral collateral ligament of the knee) that are in a lateral position (to the side of) or that prevent lateral dislocation of a joint.
Lateral meniscus
Pads of cartilage that serve to cushion the knee joint and act as shock absorbers between the bones along with the medial meniscus.
Ligaments
Strong bands of fibrous tissue that help to connect and stabilize bones and joints.
Lumbar vertebrae
The region of the spine in the low back. The main function of the lumbar vertebrae is to bear the body’s weight. It is composed of five vertebrae numbered L1 through L5.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
A strong magnetic force that creates an image of structures inside the body. An MRI scan produces clear pictures of soft tissues such as ligaments, tendons, and blood vessels.
Marrow canal
Also called the marrow cavity, medullary cavity, or medullary canal, it is the central cavity of a bone shaft where bone marrow is stored.
Massage therapy
Manipulation of tissues by rubbing, stroking, or kneading with the hands or an instrument for therapeutic purposes.
Medial collateral ligament (MCL)
A ligament that stabilizes the knee, limiting side-to-side motion. This ligament is found on the medial, or inner side, of the knee joint.
Medial epicondyle
A bony bump on the medial (inner) side of the bottom of the humerus (upper arm bone).
Medial meniscus
A pad of cartilage that serves to cushion the knee joint. It acts as a shock absorber between the bones, along with the lateral meniscus, and separates the femur (thighbone) and the tibia (shinbone).
Median nerve
A major nerve that travels down the forearm. It is the only nerve that runs through the carpal tunnel. When compressed, the median nerve causes carpal tunnel syndrome.
Menisci
Plural of meniscus.
Meniscus
A C-shaped piece of cartilage that acts like a pad between the femur (thighbone) and tibia (shinbone). The meniscus can be injured if the knee is twisted while bearing weight, causing a partial or complete tear.
Naproxen
A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation.
Neurologic deficit
A problem in nerve, spinal cord, or brain function that affects a specific location, such as part of the face, an arm, or even a small area such as the tongue. It also refers to any problem with a specific nervous system function such as memory or emotion.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Drugs used to block the COX enzymes and reduce prostaglandins throughout the body. As a consequence, ongoing inflammation, pain, and fever are reduced.
Nucleus (intervertebral disc)
The inner, gel-like portion of the intervertebral disc.
Obesity
A condition that is characterized by excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body and that in an adult is typically indicated by a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater.
Olecranon
The bony point of the elbow just below the skin, on the upper end of the ulna (pinky-side forearm bone).
Opioids
A class of drugs that include the illegal drug heroin as well as powerful prescription pail relievers, such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, and others. Opioids carry an extremely high risk of addiction.
Orthopedic surgeon
A surgical physician who specializes in the surgical treatment of musculoskeletal injuries and diseases.
Orthopedics (orthopaedics)
The branch of medicine concerned with conditions involving the musculoskeletal system.
Orthotics
Devices such as wedges, heel lifts, and stable shoes, which may help correct imbalances, decrease pain, increase stability, and provide support.
Osteoarthritis
A disease in which the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones at the joints wears away, leading to pain, stiffness, and bony overgrowths, called spurs. It is the most common form of arthritis and becomes more common with age.
Osteopathic physician (osteopath)
A specialized physician who is trained in the awareness of the effects of body mechanics on health and disease processes. Osteopaths are licensed to practice medicine and may undergo medical specialty training. They may prescribe medication and perform surgery, and they often use manipulation techniques similar to those used in chiropractic care or physical therapy.
Osteophytes
Also called bone spurs, these are abnormal bony projections that form along joint margins.
Osteoporosis
A condition in which the bones become porous and brittle, and break easily.

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P.R.I.C.E.
An acronym for what is often the first line of treatment of an orthopedic injury: Protect, Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Rest the injured joint or limb. Apply Ice to control swelling. Apply a Compression bandage. Elevate the injured joint or limb above heart level.
Partial dislocation
An injury that occurs when a bone becomes displaced from a joint or misaligned from the joint. “Partial” means that the joint surfaces are only partly separated. Also known as subluxation.
Patella
Also known as the kneecap, it is a thick, triangular bone that moves with the femur (thighbone) and covers and protects the front of the knee joint.
Patello-femoral joint
One of the two joints that form the knee joint. It connects the femur (thighbone) with the patella (kneecap).
Patellofemoral syndrome
A repetitive motion injury to the knee. Also known as “runner’s knee” and chondromalacia, PFS is due to an irritation of the undersurface of the patella (kneecap).
Pelvis
The pelvis is located at the base of the spine. The pelvis connects with the socket portion of the hip joint for each leg.
Physical therapist
A person trained and certified by a state or accrediting body to design and implement physical therapy programs. Physical therapists may work in a hospital or clinic, in a school providing assistance to special education students, or as an independent practitioner.
Physical therapy
A physical medicine and rehabilitation specialty that uses mechanical force and movements to promote recovery from injury, mobility, and function.
Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)
One of four major knee ligaments, the PCL connects from the back of the tibia (shinbone) to the front of the femur (thighbone). The main function of the PCL is to prevent backward movement of the tibia on the femur as well as to provide rotational stability to the knee joint.
Posterior dislocation
An injury that occurs when a bone is pushed backward out of the joint.
Progressive relaxation
The deliberate tensing and relaxation of muscles in order to release muscle tension.
Pronation
Rotation of the hand or forearm so that the surface of the palm is facing downward.
Proprioception
Awareness of the position, location, orientation, and movement of a joint.
Proprioceptive exercise
An exercise designed to improve awareness of the position, location, orientation, and movement of a joint.
Quadriceps
The large muscle at the front of the thigh, which is divided into four distinct portions and controls extension at the knee.
Radial collateral ligament
A ligament on the lateral (outer) side of the elbow that provides stability and prevents dislocation.
Radial head
The knobby end of the radius (thumb-side forearm bone) that rotates around the ulna (pinky-side forearm bone) to enable pronation (palm down) and supination (palm up).
Radiocapitellar joint
One of two joints that make up the elbow. It is where the humerus (upper arm bone) and the radius (thumb-side forearm bone) meet, enabling pronation (palm down) and supination (palm up).
Radiograph
An image produced on a sensitive plate or film by an x-ray.
Radius
The bone on the thumb side of your forearm. It extends from the elbow to the wrist.
Range of motion
The extent that a person can move a joint or muscle between flexion and extension.
Range-of-motion exercise
An exercise that helps to maintain or increase flexibility and relieve stiffness.
Reduction procedure
A manipulation of the bones of a dislocated joint to return them to their proper alignment.
Rehabilitation
Specialized healthcare dedicated to improving, maintaining, or restoring physical strength and mobility.
Repetitive motion injury
An injury that develops over time and is often the result of the repetitive use of a particular muscle, nerve, tendon, or joint. Also known as overuse injury and includes carpal tunnel syndrome and runner’s knee.
Resistance
To slow, stop, or oppose motion.
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA)
A systemic disease that causes the immune system to attack the joints. RA is an autoimmune condition that is chronic in nature, causes disability related to severe pain and inflammation, and is characterized by the visible deformity of the affected joints.
Rotator cuff
An area of the shoulder formed by a group of muscles and tendons that encircle and stabilize the shoulder joint. It can be vulnerable to tears and weakening due to a number of causes, including trauma, strain, and overuse.
Rotator cuff tear
A common shoulder injury. Frequent causes of tears include: overuse, trauma, athletic injuries, repetitive overhead motion, and frail aging tendons.
Runner's knee
Also known as chondromalacia. Runner’s knee is a repetitive motion injury to the knee and is due to an irritation of the undersurface of the patella (kneecap).
Ruptured disc
Also called a herniated disc. Trauma or injury to the back can cause the intervertebral discs to rupture or to protrude (herniate) from the spinal column; the disc then presses on the branching nerves. This pressure on the surrounding nerves can cause pain, weakness, or numbness.
Sacrum (sacral vertebrae)
The region of the spine between the lumbar vertebrae and the coccyx. It is a wedge-shaped bone formed by the fusing of the five sacral vertebrae, which are numbered S1 through S5.
Scapula
Also known as the shoulder blade, it is a large, triangular bone that connects the humerus (upper arm bone) with the clavicle (collarbone).
Scapulothoracic joint
The joint where the scapula (shoulder blade) meets with the ribs at the back of the chest.
Sciatic nerve
A major nerve extending from the lower end of the spinal cord, through the hip, down the back of the thigh, and dividing above the knee joint.
Shoulder
A part of the body where the arm attaches to the torso. It is made up of three bones: the clavicle (collarbone), the scapula (shoulder blade), and the humerus (upper arm bone). The shoulder also has four major joints: the glenohumeral joint, the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, the sternoclavicular (SC) joint, and the scapulothoracic (ST) joint.
Shoulder separation
A shoulder injury that occurs when the coracoclavicular ligaments that connect the clavicle (collarbone) and the scapula (shoulder blade) are torn.
Sling
A device used to support or immobilize an injured joint or limb.
Spasm
An involuntary and abnormal contraction of muscle or muscle fibers or of a hollow organ (e.g., an artery, the colon, or the esophagus) that consists largely of involuntary muscle fibers.
Spinal canal
A cavity formed by the vertebral arches that contains the spinal cord.
Spinal column
The spine.
Spinal cord
The major nerve that connects the brain to the rest of the body. It runs within the spinal canal. The spinal cord and the brain constitute the central nervous system (CNS). The spinal cord consists of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain.
Spinal manipulation
A treatment option used by people with low back pain that attempts to relieve pain and improve functioning. Professionals manipulate the spine to realign the vertebrae and relieve pressure on the nerves.
Spinal stenosis
The narrowing of the spinal canal, often due to the overgrowth of bone caused by osteoarthritis of the spine, which causes pressure on the spinal cord.
Spine
The column of bone known as the spinal or vertebral column, which surrounds and protects the spinal cord.
Splint
A device used to immobilize or stabilize an injury.
Spondylolisthesis
A condition in which a vertebra slips out of place.
Sprain
An injury to ligaments.
Sternoclavicular (SC) joint
The joint that connects the clavicle (collarbone) to the sternum (breastbone).
Sternum
Also known as the breastbone, it is a thin, flat bone running down the center of the chest and connecting the ribs.
Strain
An injury to muscle.
Strengthening exercise
An exercise that helps to maintain or increase muscle strength.
Stress fracture
An overuse injury in which the body cannot repair microscopic damage to the bone as quickly as it is induced, leading to painful, weakened bone.
Subacute back pain
Back pain that lasts between six and 12 weeks. Treatment for subacute back pain may be similar to treatment for chronic back pain.
Subluxation
An injury that occurs when a bone becomes displaced from a joint or misaligned from the joint. Also known as partial dislocation, meaning that the joint surfaces are only partly separated.
Supination
Rotation of the hand or forearm so that the surface of the palm is facing upward.
Swelling
Also known as edema. Edema is an increase in size as a result of an injury, infection, or other medical condition due to inflammation and/or the accumulation of fluid.
Synovium
Also know as the synovial membrane, it is a thin membrane that lines the inner surface of joint capsules and produces a viscous fluid that lubricates the joint.
Tai chi
A Chinese exercise system that uses slow, smooth body movements to achieve a state of relaxation of both body and mind.
Talus
A bone located in the ankle where the foot and the leg meet.
Tendinitis (tendonitis)
Inflammation of a tendon.
Tendons
The tissue by which a muscle attaches to bone. A tendon is somewhat flexible, but fibrous and tough.
Tennis elbow
Tendinitis that most often affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon, which attaches to a bony bump on the bottom of the humerus (upper arm bone) called the lateral epicondyle.
Thoracic vertebrae
The region of the spine between the cervical and lumbar vertebrae. It is made up of 12 vertebrae, number T1 through T12. The stability of the thoracic vertebrae play an important role in holding the body upright and providing protection for the vital organs in the chest.
Thorax
The body part located between the neck and diaphragm. It is partially encased by the ribs and contains the heart and lungs.
Tibia
Also known as the shinbone, it is the second largest bone in the body. The tibia is the larger of two bones in the lower leg between the knee and the ankle.
Tibio-femoral joint
One of two joints that make up the knee joint. It is where the femur (thighbone) hinges with the tibia (shinbone).
Toe-raise
An exercise that works the shin muscles at the front of the lower leg.
Tommy John surgery
A surgical procedure to completely reconstruct an injured ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) using a tissue graft.
Transverse carpal ligament
A thick ligament in the wrist on the palm side of the hand that, together with the carpals, forms the carpal tunnel.
Traumatic injuries
Injuries that are usually the result of a single traumatic event.
Tumor
An abnormal benign or malignant new growth of tissue that possesses no physiological function and arises from uncontrolled, usually rapid, cellular proliferation.
UCL injury
A common overuse injury resulting from repeated overhand throwing. Injury to the ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) may range from inflammation to a complete tear.
UCL reconstruction
Commonly known as “Tommy John surgery,” it is a surgical procedure to completely reconstruct an injured ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) using a tissue graft.
Ulna
The bone of the forearm located on the side of your little finger.
Ulnar collateral ligament (UCL)
A ligament on the medial (inner) side of the elbow that provides stability and prevents dislocation. The UCL is commonly affected by repetitive motion injury due to overhand throwing.
Ulnar nerve
A major nerve that runs the length of the arm to transmit electrical impulses to and from the brain, creating both movement and sensation.
Ulnar neuritis
An overuse injury resulting from overhand throwing in which the repeated stretching of the ulnar nerve causes it to slip out of place and causes a painful snapping.
Ultrasound
A noninvasive procedure in which a small, hand-held scanner passes ultrasound waves into the tissues. The sound waves echo off the internal structures to form an image.
Uric acid
A chemical compound produced from the natural breakdown of the body’s cells and from food. Most uric acid is filtered out by the kidneys and passes out of the body in urine, but if too much uric acid is being produced, it can crystalize in the joints and cause gout.
Valgus extension overload (VEO)
A condition in which the protective cartilage on the olecranon is worn away and bone spurs (osteophytes) develop.
Vertebrae
The 33 individual, interlocking bones that make up the spinal column.
Vertebral arch
Bony projections at the back of each vertebra that form a hollow canal, called the spinal canal, which protects the spinal cord.
Vertebral fracture
A cracked or broken vertebra.
Wrist
The joint between the forearm and the hand. The wrist consists of a double row of small bones that are intertwined to form a movable hinge.
X-Ray
A procedure that uses low-level radiation that passes through the body to produce a two-dimensional picture called a radiograph. An x-ray can diagnose fractures or other problems of the bones.
Yoga
A system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently, especially in Western cultures, to promote bodily or mental control and wellbeing.