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Glossary - Orthopaedic Center

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abdominal bracing - a technique of tensing the stomach muscles to support the spine.

acromion - the roof, or highest point, of the shoulder that is formed by a part of the scapula, or shoulder blade.

adhesions - abnormal bands of tissue that grow between joint surfaces, restricting motion.

allodynia - pain due to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain.

analgesia - absence of pain in response to stimulation that would normally be painful.

antibody - a special protein produced by the body's immune system that recognizes and helps fight infectious agents and other foreign substances that invade the body.

artery - any tubular, branching vessel that carries blood from the heart throughout the body.

arthralgia - pain in a joint, usually due to arthritis or arthropathy.

arthritis - inflammation of the joint.

arthrogram - x-ray of a joint.

arthroscopy - the use of an intra-articular camera inserted into the joint through a small incision to show the inside of a joint; the procedure allows the physician to also assess, repair, or reconstruct various tissues both within and around joints.

atrophy - wasting away of a body part or tissue.


benign - noncancerous; a mild disease or condition.

bone - living tissue that makes up the body's skeleton.

bone graft - a surgical procedure in which healthy bone is transplanted from another part of the patient's body into the affected area.

bone scan - a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.

bursas - fluid-filled sacs between bones and ligaments, or other adjacent structures.

bursitis - inflammation of the bursas.


cancellous tissue - the sponge-like tissue inside bones.

cartilage - a connective tissue that covers the ends of bones in a joint.

cast - a cast holds a broken bone in place as it heals, prevents or decreases muscle contractures, or provides immobilization, especially after surgery. Casts immobilize the joint above and the joint below the area that is to be kept straight and without motion. For example, a child with a forearm fracture will have a long arm cast to immobilize the wrist and elbow joints.

chondroblasts - immature cartilage-producing cells.

clubfoot (Also called talipes equinovarus.) - a foot deformity that is detected at birth. It affects the bones, muscles, tendons, and blood vessels and can affect one or both feet. The foot is usually short and broad in appearance and the heel points downward while the front half of the foot, or forefoot, turns inward. The heel cord (Achilles tendon) is tight. The heel can appear narrow and the muscles in the calf are smaller compared to a normal lower leg.

compact tissue - the harder, outer tissue of bones.

computed tomography scan (Also called CT or CAT scan.) - a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.

congenital - present at birth.

contusion - a bruise caused by a blow to the muscle, tendon, or ligament; caused when blood pools around the injury and discolors the skin.

corticosteroids (Also called glucocorticoids.) - potent anti-inflammatory hormones that are made naturally in the body or synthetically for use as drugs; most commonly prescribed drug of this type is prednisone.


developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) - a condition of the hip joint that is congenital (present at birth). The hip joint is created as a ball-and-socket joint. In DDH, the hip socket may be shallow, letting the "ball" of the long leg bone, also known as the femoral head, slip in and out of the socket. The "ball" may move partially or completely out of the hip socket.

dislocation - a dislocation occurs when extreme force is put on a ligament causing the two bone ends to separate. Dislocations can also affect a joint, the point where two or more bones come together. The joint is created as a "ball-and-socket" joint. A dislocated joint causes the head of the bone (ball) to partially or completely come out of the socket.


electromyogram (EMG) - a test that measures the electrical activity of a muscle or a group of muscles. An EMG can detect abnormal electrical muscle activity due to diseases and neuromuscular conditions.

erythrocyte sedimentation rate (Also called ESR or sed rate.) - a measurement of how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. When swelling and inflammation are present, the blood's proteins clump together and become heavier than normal. Thus, when measured, they fall and settle faster at the bottom of the test tube. Generally, the faster the blood cells fall, the more severe the inflammation.


femur - thighbone.

fractures - a partial or complete break in the bone.



hip - the region on each side of the pelvis; made up of three sections: ilium, ischium, and pubis; the upper part of the femur (upper leg bone) fits into the hip via a ball-and-socket joint; the socket is a cup-shaped bone of the pelvis, called the acetabulum, and the ball is the head of the femur.


immune system - complex network of specialized cells and organs that work together to defend the body against attacks by "foreign" invaders such as bacteria and viruses; in some rheumatic conditions, it appears that the immune system does not function properly and may even work against the body.

incidence - statistic that equals the number of new cases of a particular disease that occur in a population during a defined period of time, usually one year.

infectious arthritis - an infection in the joint fluid and tissues.


joint - where the ends of two or more bones meet.

juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) - a form of arthritis in children ages 16 or younger that causes inflammation and stiffness of the joints.


kyphosis - a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving a "humpback" appearance.


Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease - A temporary condition in children in which the head, or "ball," of the thigh bone, referred to as the femoral head, loses its blood supply. As a result, the "ball" of the thigh bone collapses. The body will absorb the dead tissue and replace the dead bone cells with new bone cells. The new bone cells will eventually reshape the "ball" of the thigh bone. This condition causes the hip joint to become painful and stiff for a period of time.

ligaments - a white, shiny, flexible band of fibrous tissue that binds joints together and connects various bones and cartilage.

lordosis - a curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the lower back area, giving the child a "swayback" appearance.


magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) - a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

metatarsus adductus (Also called metatarsus varus.) - a common, congenital (present at birth) foot deformity that causes the front half of the foot, or forefoot, to turn inward.

muscular dystrophy (MD) - is a broad term that describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the muscles. MD causes the muscles in the body to become very weak. The muscles break down and are replaced with fatty deposits over time. The most common form of MD is called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

musculoskeletal system - the complex system that include: bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves.


neuralgia - pain in distribution of nerve or nerves.

neuritis - inflammation of a nerve or nerves.

nodule - bump.

NSAID - abbreviation for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, which do not contain corticosteroids and are used to reduce pain and inflammation; aspirin and ibuprofen are two types of NSAIDs.

nursemaid's elbow - a condition common in children younger than 4 years of age in which the radius (one of the bones of the forearm) slips out of place from its attachment to the elbow joint.


occult - disease or symptoms that are not readily detectable by physical examination or laboratory tests.

orthopaedic surgeon (Also called an orthopaedist.) - a physician who diagnoses, 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 surgery (Also called orthopaedics.) - the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of injuries and diseases of the body's musculoskeletal system.

Osgood-Schlatter disease - An overuse condition or injury of the knee that causes pain and swelling below the knee area.

osteitis pubis - an inflammation of the pubic symphysis, the bone to which the two hip bones connect in front of the body.

osteoblast - cell found in bone; its function is to form the tissue and minerals that give bone its strength.

osteocyte - cell found within the bone; its function is to help maintain bone as living tissue.

osteogenesis imperfecta (Also called OI or brittle-bone disease.) - a genetic (inherited) disorder characterized by bones that break easily. There may not be a particular cause for the broken bones.

osteomyelitis - an infection in the bone.

overuse conditions - injuries due to repetitive minor trauma that affects the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons.


pain - an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience primarily associated with tissue damage, or described in terms of tissue damage, or both.

pain threshold - the least experience of pain that a person can recognize.

pain tolerance level - the greatest level of pain that a person is prepared to tolerate.

patella - the knee-cap.

pauciarticular - a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects four or fewer joints.

pelvis - a basin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column containing the sacrum, coccyx, and hip bones (ilium, pubis, and ischium).

periosteum - the compact and cancellous tissues of bone together; beneath the hard outer shell of the periosteum, there are tunnels and canals through which blood and lymphatic vessels run to carry nourishment for the bone; muscles, ligaments, and tendons may attach to the periosteum.

polyarticular - a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects five or more joints.

polymyalgia rheumatica - condition of unknown cause that affects the lining of joints, particularly in the shoulders and hips.

predisposition - tendency to develop a certain disease.

prevalence - statistic that equals the total number of people in a population with a certain disease at a given time.

psoriatic arthritis - a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis, a skin and nail disease.



R.I.C.E. - rest, ice, compression, and elevation.

range of motion - measurement of the extent to which a joint can go through all its normal spectrum of movements.

reactive arthritis (Also called Reiter's syndrome.) - a type of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to an infection.

rheumatoid factor - special kind of antibody often found in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

rheumatologist - a physician who specializes in the treatment of arthritis and other rheumatic diseases that may affect joints, muscles, bones, skin, and other tissues.

rotator cuff - consists of muscles and tendons that hold the shoulder in place.


scapula - shoulder blade.

sciatica (Also called lumbar radiculopathy.) - a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve.

scoliosis - a lateral, or sideways curvature and rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.

sepsis - the presence of bacteria, virus, fungus, or other organism in the blood or other tissues and the toxins associated with the invasion.

septic (infectious) arthritis - an infection in the joint fluid and tissues.

slipped capital femoral epiphysis (SCFE) - a condition in children in which the head, or "ball," of the thigh bone, referred to as the femoral head, slips off the neck of the thigh bone. An analogy commonly used to describe this condition is that is can be like a scoop of ice cream slipping off the top of a cone. This condition causes the hip joint to become painful and stiff.

soft tissue - the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the musculoskeletal system.

somatosensory - refers to sensory signals from all tissues of the body including skin, viscera, muscles, and joints.

spine - a column in the body consisting of 33 vertebrae.

spondylosis - a degenerative process of the cervical spine that causes narrowing of the spinal canal and neural foramina, and produces compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots.

sprain - a partial or complete tear of a ligament.

strain - a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon.

stress fracture - a bone injury caused by overuse.

subchondral tissue - the smooth tissue at the ends of bones, which is covered with another type of tissue called cartilage.

synovial fluid - a clear, sticky fluid that is released by the synovial membrane and acts as a lubricant for joints and tendons.

synovial membrane - a tissue that lines and seals the joint.

synovitis - inflammation of the synovial membrane, the tissue that lines and protects the joint.

synovium - a fibrous envelope that produces a fluid to help to reduce friction and wear in a joint.

systemic - disease or symptoms that affect many different parts of the body.

systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis - a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects joints and sometimes internal organs.


tendons - the tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones.

tibia - the shin bone.

tibial torsion - an inward twist of the shin bones, the bones that are located between the knee and the ankle. Tibial torsion causes the child's feet to turn inward, or have what is also known as a "pigeon-toed" appearance. It is typically seen among toddlers.

torticollis (Also called wryneck.) - a twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate and tilt on an angle.

trigger point - hypersensitive area or site in muscle or connective tissue, usually associated with myofascial pain syndromes.





x-ray - a diagnostic test which uses invisible electromagnetic energy beams to produce images of internal tissues, bones, and organs onto film.



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