Terms Glossary

Have your heard your practitioner use a technical word and you weren't sure what it meant and were too shy to ask? While we want you to feel free to ask us for clarification at any time if we say something you do not understand, in the meantime we have provideed a glossary of terms for your convenience.

| Abbreviations | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z|

Abbreviations

AAOP: American Academy of Orthotists and Prosthetists; professional society for ABC (board certified) practitioners.

ABC: American Board for Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics; nationally recognized certification board for individuals and facilities in the fields of orthotics and prosthetics.

ADLs: Activities of Daily Living; refers to the normal activities that all people must complete every day, such as bathing, dressing, and eating.

AE: Above Elbow; also referred to as transhumoral.

AFO: Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the lower leg and foot.

AK: Above Knee; also referred to as transfemoral.

AOPA: American Orthotic and Prosthetic Association; trade organization of facilities in the fields of orthotics and prosthetics services.

BE: Below Elbow; also referred to as transradial.

BK: Below Knee; also referred to as transtibial.

CO: Certified Orthotist; orthotist who has passed the certification standards of the American Board of Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics

CP: Certified Prosthetist; prosthetist who has passed the certification standards of the American Board of Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics

CPO: Certified Prosthetist & Orthotist; practitioner who has passed the certification standards of the American Board of Certification in Orthotics and Prosthetics in both orthotics and prosthetics

CVA: Cerebral Vascular Accident; stroke.

ED: Elbow Disarticulation; amputation through the elbow joint.

HD: Hip Disarticulation; amputation through the hip joint.

HKAFO: Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the hip and leg.

IPOP or Immediate Post Operative Prosthesis: A temporary prosthesis applied in the operating room immediately after an amputation.

KAFO: Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the entire leg.

KD: Knee Disarticulation; amputation through the knee joint.

LSO: Lumbosacral Orthosis; device that encompasses the lower torso.

TLSO: Thoracolumbar-Sacral Orthosis; device that encompasses the entire torso.

WHO: Wrist-Hand Orthosis; device that encompasses the wrist and hand.

A

acquired amputation: surgical removal of a limb as a result of disease or trauma.

adherent scar tissue: tissue attached to the bone.

alignment: position of prosthetic socket in relation to foot and knee.

alignment (dynamic): fine-tuning of socket in relation to foot and knee after patient walks in prosthesis.

alignment (static): initial position of socket in relation to foot and knee.

ambulation: walking

amputation: the loss or absence of all or part of a limb.

assistive device: equipment designed to aid in mobility, including environmental equipment such as ramps and bars, or individual devices such as a walker or cane.

atrophy: continual decrease in size and strength of muscles due to nonuse; a normal and expected result of amputation.

B

bilateral: double amputation; this term can be applied to legs and arms, in any combination and at any level, whether both arms, both legs, or one of each. example: bilateral BK is the absence of both legs below the knee.

biomechanics: the study of normal ambulation and body motions

bulbous: description of residual limb that is larger in circumference at the end than it is at the top

C

check or test socket: a temporary socket used for diagnostic and fitting purposes, also referred to as test socket; nearly always transparent. After optimal fit is achieved, an exact copy will be made to create the definitive socket.

congenital: from birth

congenital amputee: a person born without one or more limbs; more technically correct term is this person has a "limb deficiency."

congenital anomaly: birth abnormality such as a missing limb (amelia) or deformed limb (phocomelia).

congenital defiency: birth abnormality referring to abnormal development of a limb or limbs.

Control cable: cable system used primarily in upper extremity prosthetics to control the terminal device and/or elbow. Control cables can also be used in lower extremity orthotics and prosthetics to control joint structures.

cosmesis: the outer protective cover of the prosthesis, with a cosmetic appearance; cover is generally made from foam and can be covered with either a stocking or a protective "skin."

D

definitive, or "permanent" prosthesis: the final prosthesis meeting all check-out standards such as optimal fit and function.

disarticulation: an amputation through a joint such as the hip, knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or wrist.

doffing: removing an orthotic or prosthetic device.

donning: put on an orthotic or prosthetic device.

dorsiflexion: pointing the toe and/or foot upward, toward the head. Compare to plantarflexion.

durometer: refers to density or stiffness of a material.less.

E

early prosthetic fitting: prosthesis that is fit to the amputee immediately following suture removal. Compare to IPOP.

edema: swelling due to residual fluid in the tissues.

endoskeletal prosthesis: prosthesis with all structural support inside the prosthesis; supportive structures are covered by a protective cosmetic cover. In this type of prosthesis the cover is usually made of a soft cushion material. Compare to exoskeletal prosthesis.

energy storing foot: a prosthetic foot design that stores energy as weight is applied; this energy is released as weight is transfered to the other foot. This foot design usually utilizes carbon fiber technology.

eversion: to turn outward, away from the center of the body. Compare to inversion.

exoskeletal prosthesis: prosthesis with all structural support found in the cosmetic appearance, and is hollow inside.

extension assist: a component used in knee structures that helps the patient straighten the knee while walking.

extremity: limb

F

femur: the thigh bone

Forquarter Amputation: amputation of the arm, shoulder, clavicle and scapula. Also referred to as Interscapulothoracic.

G

gait: the process of walking

H

Hemi-pelvectomy: an amputation where a portion (usually half) of the pelvis is removed.

heel strike: the moment when the heel contacts the floor during the gait cycle.

hydraulic: technology utilizing oil flow that is used in knee mechanisms, allowing the patient to walk at varying speeds.

I

inversion: to turn inward, toward the center of the body. Compare to eversion.

ischial containment socket (refer to ischial tuberosity): the ischium of the pelvis is "grasped" in this style of prosthetic socket, starting at the ischial tuberosity and following the bone to the front of the body where the pelvis then exits the socket. This style of socket offers greater control of the prosthesis to the amputee, though it may be uncomfortable when first attempted and may require time to become accustomed to it. Compare to quad/quadrilateral socket.

ischial tuberosity: the part of the ischium (which is a part of the pelvis) that protrudes slightly; also referred to as the "sitting bone," this bone can be felt when sitting on a hard surface. In the above knee prosthetic socket, the patient will bear weight on this bone while standing. This is possible because the bone has been designed to bear weight. The ischial tuburosity is also the connecting site for the major muscles in the thigh.

J

K

L

lateral: to the side, away from the center of the body. Compare to medial.

ligaments: tissue that connects bone to bone

liners: rolled onto the residual limb for suspension, comfort and protection.

M

manual locking: a type of knee that is always locked in full extension until the patient chooses to allow it to bend for times such as sitting. This type of knee is good for maximum stability and prevention of falls.

medial: toward the center of the body. Compare to lateral.

multiaxis foot: foot design that allows inversion and eversion of the foot; this type of foot is effective for walking on uneven surfaces.

myoelectrics: powers the upper-extremity prosthesis based on electrical signals generated by the muscles remaining in the limb.

myodesis: amputation proccedure where muscles are attached to end of bone. Compare to myoplasty.

myoplasty: amputation proccedure where muscles are anchored to opposing muscles. Compare to myodesis.

N

neuroma: after an amputation, the end of the remaining nerve continues to grow a nodule referred to as a neuroma. Neuromas can cause pain or a "jumpy" reflex if pressure is applied to them.

nudge control: powers the upper-extremity prosthesis by using a mechanical switch to operate the terminal device and/or elbow.

O

orthosis: a plastic, metal, or carbon fiber device used to support a body part, with a goal of maintaining or improving the current condition.

orthotics: the professional field of providing orthotic services and devices.

orthotist: a practitioner who evaluates, designs, fabricates and fits orthoses.

P

partial foot amputation: an amputation of the foot at varying levels; can range from amputation of one or more toes up to most of the foot.

pistoning: the cycle of the residiual limb pulling in and out of the socket while wearing it.

plantarflexion: pointing the toe and/or foot downward, away from the body. Compare to dorsiflexion.

pneumatic: technology utilizing air flow that is used in knee mechanisms, allowing the patient to walk at varying speeds.

polycentric: multi-axis joint, most closely simulating the joint motion found in actual skeletal joints.

prehension: to hold

preparatory prosthesis: a basic prosthesis without cosmetic finishing that is used at the beginning stages of rehabilitation.

prosthesis: an artificial part of the body, used as a functional and/or cosmetic replacement.

prosthetics: the professional field of providing cosmetic and/or functional replacements of human parts.

prosthetist: a practitioner who evaluates, designs, fabricates and fits prostheses.

posterior: the back side of the body.

pylon: found in an endoskeletal prosthesis, a tube that provides the general structural support of the entire prosthesis.

Q

quad/quadrilateral socket: a socket with a posterior shelf approximately one inch wide on which the ischial tuberosity sits. Does not capture the ischium like a ischial containment socket. Compare to Ischial Containment Socket.

R

residual limb: the remaining portion of a limb after amputation, often referred to as the "stump."

S

SACH foot: Solid Ankle, Cushion Heel foot; this is the most basic foot and is used in IPOP fittings; it is also a stable foot used in follow-up fittings, as well.

shrinker: a sock-like prosthetic component made of elastic material; used to help control edema (swelling) in the residual limb. Usually worn just until the limb size is stabilized and the first prosthetic fitting takes place, though some patients continue to use the shrinker for pain management.

single axis foot: foot on a single hinge that allows plantarflexion and dorsiflexion

single axis knee: knee on a single hinge; different knees have different locking mechanisms.

socket: the portion of the prosthesis that fits around the residual limb; prosthetic components such as a knee and/or foot are attached here.

split hook: terminal device for an upper-extremity prosthesis; two hook-shaped "fingers" are activated through a cable control system to allow prehension (gripping and pinching).

stance control: adjustable brake mechanism for adding stability to a prosthetic knee. Compare to swing phase.

stance flexion: at heel strike, the knee is slightly flexed; this can be simulated in a prosthetic knee.

stance phase: the phase in gait where the leg under examination is contacting the ground.

stockinette: a thin cotton or nylon material "sock" used for casting and other purposes.

stump: a word sometimes used to refer to the residual limb; compare to residual limb.

stump sock: wool or cotton sock worn over the residual limb and/or liner; socks are used to control volume changes in the limb during the day and over time.

stump shrinker: see "shrinker"

suction: provides suspension by use of negative pressure; socket is worn as a skin-fit (no sock or liner) and air is pushed out of the socket through a one-way valve to acvieve suction.

supracondylar suspension: method to hold socket onto residual limb by "gripping" the socket over the bony prominences of the knee or elbow.

suspension system(s): method used to hold the prosthesis on to the body; methods include locking pin, vacuum, suction, suspension sleeve, and TES and waist belt.

swing phase: the phase in gait where the leg under examination is not contacting the ground. Compare to stance phase.

Symes: an ankle disarticulation amputation; the heel pad of the foot is retained for cushioning so that the patient can bear weight on the end of the limb.

T

terminal device: the device attached to the end of an upper extremity prosthesis, such as a hook or hand.

TES belt: a suspension system for the above knee prosthesis; made of neoprene or elastic, it attaches to the prosthesis by wrapping around the top portion and attaches to the patient by wrapping a belt around the waist.

transtarsal amputation: a partial foot amputation, through the tarsal (foot) bones that lead to the toes.

U

V

voluntary-closing: refers to upper extremity terminal device. Device is closed by pulling on a control cable, and grasp is proportional to the amount of pull on the cable; the device is open while at rest.

voluntary-opening: refers to upper extremity terminal device. Device is opened by pulling on a control cable and grasp is provided by elastic bands or springs in the device so that the device is always closed at rest.

W

wrist unit: component at the end of an upper extremity prosthesis allows the terminal device to be repositioned or interchanged with another terminal device.

X

Y

Z