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Glossary - Bone Disorders

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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.

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

arthritis - inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and sometimes change in structure.

arthroplasty - total joint replacement.

arthroscopy - a minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.

atrophy - wasting away of a body part or tissue.


bacteremia - the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.

benign - non-cancerous; mild disease or condition that is not life threatening.

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.

bursa - a sac filled with fluid located between a bone and a tendon or muscle.


cancellous tissue - the sponge-like tissue inside bones.

cartilage - a type of tissue that covers the surface of a bone at a joint. Cartilage helps reduce the friction of movement within a joint.

chondroblasts - immature cartilage-producing cells.

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 - 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.



electromyogram (EMG ) - a test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.


femur - thighbone.

fracture - a breaking of a body part, usually a bone.


gangrene - a death of body tissue that usually occurs when there has been an interruption of blood supply, followed by bacterial infection.


humerus - the bone of the upper arm.


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.

inflammation - a normal reaction to injury or disease, which results in swelling, pain, and stiffness.


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



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


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.

musculoskeletal system - the complex system involving the body's muscles and skeleton, and including the joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

myelogram - involves the injection of a dye or contrast material into the spinal canal; a specific x-ray study that also allows careful evaluation of the spinal canal and nerve roots.


neuralgia - pain felt along the distribution of a nerve or nerves.

neuritis - inflammation of a nerve or nerves.

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


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.

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

osteoclast - very large cell formed in bone marrow; its function is to absorb and remove unwanted bone tissue.

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


pain - an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience primarily associated with tissue damage.

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

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

periosteum - touch outer membrane surrounding the bone through which blood and lymphatic vessels run to carry nourishment for the bone; muscles, ligaments, and tendons may attach to the periosteum.

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

prosthesis - an artificial body part replacement.



radionuclide bone scan - a nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient's bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

radius - the shorter of the two long bones of the forearm.

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


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

soft tissue - generally, 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.

sprain - an overstretching of a ligament, which may result in a partial or complete tear.

strain - an overstretching of a muscle, which may result in 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.

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

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

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.


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

tendonitis - an inflammation in a tendon or the tendon covering.

tibia - shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.


ulnar bone - the longer of the two bones in the forearm.




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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