Physiotherapy is a specialised area of medical field and as such it uses terms that are inherent to the profession. For those who are unfamiliar with physiotherapy, some of the terms may sound like another language. This article presents a glossary of commonly used terms in order to give you a better understanding of what they mean and how they may relate to you.


Abdomen It is the front part of the body between the chest and the pelvis, which contains digestive and reproductive organs. It is also referred as Belly.
Abduct To move a body part away from the mid-line of the body without causing rotation.
Accessory movement These are the movements of joint surfaces which cannot be performed voluntarily or in isolation by the patient.
Achilles tendinitis It is defined as an Inflammatory condition of the Achilles tendon, especially the peritendon, arising because of biomechanical, muscular, training and footwear factors. If this problem arises because of degeneration, then terminology to be used should be Achilles Tendinopathy.
ACL(Anterior Cruciate Ligament) This ligament attaches to the front of the knee, at tibia and passes through the middle of the knee; It prevent hyperextension of the joint and also prevents femur from sliding backward in relation to the tibia, or we can say it prevents anterior translation of tibia of femur in weight bearing position. The ACL is particularly prone to sports injuries due to stretching and tearing of the ligament.
Acromio Clavicular joint The joint between the Acromion process of Scapula and the Clavicle or Collar bone. It is part of the shoulder complex and it is commonly injured during a fall onto the shoulder. It is a kind of plane synovial joint.
Activities of daily living (ADLs) ADL’s are the activities of Personal care and hygiene necessary for everyday living, such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting.
Acupuncture Fine Needles, laser, electroacupuncture or pressure (shiatsu) can be beneficial in treatment and management of a variety of conditions, primarily to alter pain threshold and/or pain perception.
Adductor tendinitis It is an inflammatory condition of Adductor Tendon at hip, commonly occurring in athletes and horse riders, with localised pain over the tendinous origin of adductor longus from the pubis or at its musculotendinous junction.
Airway Emergency device to help proper ventilation in the lungs.
Akinesia It is Defined as lack of Voluntary Movements, arising because of some neurological deficit in Brain, as in Parkinsonism.
Ambu bag A self inflating bag used to get air into the lungs. It is a manual resuscitator.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) A terminal neurological disorder characterised by progressive degeneration of motor cells in the spinal cord and brain. It is often referred to as “Lou Gehrig’s disease” or simply Motor Neuron Disease.
Analgesia When pain gets relieved by use of medication, it is aften termed as Analgesia. (like aspirin, paracetamol or codeine).
Aneurysm A weakened area on the wall of an artery causing ballooning of the artery.
Ankle Arthroscopy Refers to the technique used by orthopaedic surgeons whereby they insert a arthroscope into the ankle joint, arthroscope is a camera. It is a minimally invasive surgical procedure. It allows the surgeon to look directly into the ankle joint and determine exact pathology.
Ankle sprain Usually an over stretch of the lateral (outside) ligament of the ankle joint. Can be of varying degrees, from minor stretch to complete rupture, from Grade 1 -3.
Ankylosing spondylitis A disease process of unknown aetiology, characterised by bilateral sacroiliitis with inflammatory changes in the spinal joints. The onset is most common in males in their late teens to early twenties. As the name suggests, there is gradual fusion of the axial skeleton, sacroiliac joints and pubic symphysis.
Annulus fibrosis It is the outer portion of the intervertebral disc, consisting of collagen fibres arranged in a highly ordered pattern.
Anterior Talo-Fibular Ligament( ATFL) Ligament at lateral aspect of the ankle joint that links the Talus with Fibula. It gets commonly injured during an inversion of the foot, leading to ankle sprain.
Antibodies Substances produced by the body against foreign body entering in the body. Each Antibody interacts with a specific Antigen as part of the body’s response to these ‘foreign’ substances.
Antigens A toxin, foreign substance or bacteria that can trigger an immune response in the body.
Antioxidants Substances which protect our cells from ‘Free Radicals’ are called Anti-oxidants. Free Radical damage may lead to Cancer. Antioxidants are abundant in fresh fruit and vegetables; and also in nuts, grains, meat, poultry and fish.
Arrhythmia An abnormal or irregular rhythm of beating of the heart.
Arthralgia Any condition in which there is pain in one or more joints in the body is called Arthralgia, usually due to arthritis or arthropathy.
Arthritis Inflammatory condition of a joint or joints, arising because of degeneration process in the cartilage of the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, deformity.
Arthrogram Diagnostic imaging of a joint on a contrast medium.
Arthroscopy A minimally-invasive procedure used for either diagnostic purposes or treatment purposes for a condition of the joint. . In this procedure, a small arthroscope is inserted into the joint space through a small incision over 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.
Articular cartilage It is the outer covering of the ends of bones which allows for the distribution of compressive loads over the bone, as well as providing a friction free movement of the joint.
Aspirate To withdraw fluids from within the body/joint space using a fine needle and syringe.
Assistive Device A tool used by person with disability to assist him in completing a task (such as a reacher, grabber, special eating utensil, or button-hooker).
Atrophy In this, there is wasting of muscles, muscles gets shrinked in size, usually following a period of disuse or immobility, leading to weakness of the muscles affected.
Avascular necrosis Death of tissues due to lack of blood supply. Commonly seen at femoral neck, leading to erosion of bone around head of the femur. May also be seen in scaphoid and navicular fractures.
Avulsion When a muscle is forcefully stretched beyond its freely available range of motion, it is termed as Avulsion. Can also occur in ligament injuries, where the insertion of the ligament may pull some bone off when it is damaged.
Axon It is outgrowth of a neurone and is dependent on the cell body for its conduction.


Baker’s cyst Also called as Popliteal Cyst. It is a non serous fluid collection behind knee arising because of either Bursitis of the semimembranosus or the medial gastrocnemius bursa. It may also be associated with Knee arthritis.
Bankart lesion It is a lesion of anterior glenoid Labrum arising out of subluxation and dislocation of the shoulder. An anterior pouch that is formed when the humeral head dislocates anteriorly, and remains following reduction, leaving a deficit in the anterior restraining mechanisms.
Barton’s fracture Intra-articular fracture of the distal end of the radius accompanied with dislocation of radiocarpal joint.
Baseball thumb Avulsion injury of ulnar collateral ligament.
Bennett’s fracture Intra-articular fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone.
Biarthrodial muscles Muscles that crosses over two joints and controls function over those joints e.g. biceps brachii – shoulder flexion and elbow flexion.
Biofeedback The use of instrumentation to bring covert physiological processes to the conscious awareness of the individual, usually by visual or auditory signals.
Blood doping It is a form of Doping used by athletes before or during a sport event. It involves withdrawal of blood from an athlete, followed by re-infusion after a suitable period of time, usually 4 – 8 weeks, during which time the level of red blood cells had returned to its pre-withdrawal state. It generally leads to increase in oxygen carrying capacity of the blood and hence improves endurance.
Bone density A term often used to describe bone mass and is supposed to be diminished in osteoporosis. Bone density has also been seen to be diminished in hormone deficiency syndromes, particularly oestrogen depletion.
Bradykinesia It is Defined as slowness of Movements, that arises because of some neurological deficit in Brain, as in Parkinsonism.
Bradyphrenia Slowness of thought processes, that arises because of some neurological deficit in Brain.
Bucket handle tear It is a kind of medial meniscus tear which extends along the length of the meniscus, within the body of the medial meniscus. This causes torn meniscus to slip into the joint, which is the common cause for knee to get ‘locked’.
Bunion It is the inflammation and swelling of the bursa located at the first meta-tarsophalangeal joint.
Bursa A bursa is a fibro-cartilagenous sac filled with fluid located between a bone and a tendon or muscle.
Bursitis Inflammatory condition of the bursa, usually caused due to overuse or direct trauma.


Calcaneal spur Also known as ‘Calcaneal Enthesiopathy’, which forms due to repetitive microtrauma at the insertion site of the Achilles tendon leading to the formation of a bone spur, extending from the calcaneum into the Achilles tendon.
Carbohydrates The group of foods that provide most energy to the body. They are absorbed from sugars and starches and stored as Glycogen within the body.
Cardiac Pertaining to the heart.
Cardiovascular Related to the heart and blood vessels.
Carpal tunnel It is a “tunnel” formed by the flexor retinaculum and the carpal bones at the wrist, through which muscles, blood vessels and nerves pass on their way to the hand from the forearm.
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is a common form of overuse phenomenon and repetitive strain injury. It is a condition leading to neuropathy and motor weakness due to compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel.
Cartilage A tough, elastic tissue that surrounds the joint surfaces in the body to provide cushioning effect against loads on the joints.
Cauda equina Lower end of the spinal cord.
Cavitation Production of bubbles from liquid.
Central nervous system The brain, spinal cord and spinal nerves together constitute central nervous system in the body.
Cervical spine The area of the spinal cord located in the neck.
Chance fracture Horizontal avulsion fracture of vertebra extending from posterior to anterior through spinous process, pedicle and vertebral body.
Chauffeur’s fracture Fracture of the styloid process of the Radius bone in the forearm.
Chondromalacia patellae It is the softening of the articular cartilage on the undersurface of the patella. Commonly seen in adolescents and is associated with functional and biomechanical deficiencies of the patello-femoral joint.
ChoPat strap An infrapatellar strap, commonly used in the treatment of patellar tendinitis or chondromalacia patellae.
Chronic A condition that persists for a long time.
Cloward’s spots Areas of referred pain around the thoracic spine, close to Scapula.
Coccydynia Inflammatory condition of the coccyx bone in which there is pain around the coccyx.
Cognition Mental functions such as the ability to think, reason, and remember.
Collagen A protein based tissue that constitutes connective tissue of the human body. It is the principle component of skin, tendon, bone, ligaments and cartilage.
Collateral Ligaments The ligaments which are present at the side of a joint and provides stability to that joint.
Colles’ fracture Fracture of the distal end of the radius bone, 2 inches above the styloid process.
Compartment Syndrome A condition in which the pressure within the compartment of a muscle becomes so elevated that the blood supply to the area is compromised.
Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT scan) A diagnostic imaging procedure that utilizes computer technology in combination with x-rays to produce horizontal, or axial, images (often called slices) of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs.
Concentric Contraction A muscle contraction where the muscle fibres are shortening.
Congenital A condition that exists from birth.
Conjoint tendon The common tendinous insertion of transversus abdominis and internal oblique at the pectineal line.
Continuous passive motion (CPM) It is a modality used for producing continuous passive movements of the joint in the body, during the recovery process from injury or following surgery.
Contracture A permanent pathological shortening of muscle tissue.
Contusion It is a bruise, often associated with blunt trauma.
Coronary ligament Ligament that lies on the anterior aspect of the knee and attaches the anterior horn of the medial meniscus to the tibial plateau.
Corticosteroid A naturally occurring steroid which reduces inflammation. Synthetic corticosteroids are given as injections to treat inflammatory conditions.
Cortisone A steroid preparation which is injected into desired body parts to provide pain relief from conditions such as an arthritic joint; in some cases, cortisone may alleviate problems like bursitis and tendonitis
Costochondral junction It is a Junction between rib and costal cartilage. It gets commonly disrupted in contact sports.
Crepitus A grinding noise or sensation within a joint caused by friction between irregular bony surfaces in joint.
Cryotherapy Use of Ice/Cold water as a tool to decrease pain and swelling in the body parts is Cryotherapy. Physiologically ice reduces metabolic activity within the tissues thus preventing secondary tissue damage; it also reduces pain signals to the central nervous system.
Cyst A closed sac filled with fluid.


De Quervain’s Disease Inflammation of the tendons and sheath of abductor pollicis longus and extensor pollicis brevis, in the first dorsal compartment of the wrist, with subsequent thickening and stenosis.
Debridement It is a surgical procedure to remove foreign or loose bodies from a joint or wound.
Deep transverse frictions It is a technique of deep massage used for scar tissue and chronic tendon disorders.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) Formation of clots in the deep veins is often termed as Deep vein thrombosis, particularly common in the calf. It is characterised by sharp pain in the calf, swelling, tenderness and possibly some ecchymosis.
Defibrillator Emergency machine utilising electric shock to restore normal heart rhythm.
Degenerative Disc Disease It is a condition of the spine usually characterised by dehydration and shrinkage of the inter-vertebral discs and the formation of bony spurs at the margins of the inter-vertebral joints. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and a reduced activity levels.
Degenerative Joint Disease It is the condition of a joint secondary to previous trauma or as a result of repetitive overuse. There is a gradual degeneration of the articular cartilage of a joint, accompanied by changes in the soft tissues surrounding the joint. Symptoms include pain, stiffness and a loss of function.
Dehydration It is a condition occurring as a result of excessive water loss from the body and less water intake.
Delayed Union It is a condition where it takes longer time than usual for a fracture to heal and unite.
Dementia It is a term commonly used to describe a decline in intellectual functioning that is severe enough to interfere with the person’s ability to perform activities of daily living.
Dermatome Dermatome is an area on the skin supplied by one spinal segment.
Diabetes It is a metabolic disorder in which there is dysfunction of the release of Insulin from the Pancreas, which causes potentially harmful changes to blood sugar levels. Obesity is a major causative factor.
Diaphysis It is the area of shaft of a ‘long bone’.
Disability It is the lack of ability to perform an activity in a normal way as a result of some impairment, such as not being able to walk due to a weakness or paralysis in a leg.
Disc It is a fibrocartilagenous material present between two vertebrae of the spine.
Disc herniation Disruption in the normal integrity of the intervertebral disc, causing the nucleus pulposus to breach the annular fibres internally.
Discectomy It is the surgical removal of the prolapsed intervertebral disc.
Disease It is a disorder of normal structure and function within the body that produces specific signs and symptoms.
Dislocation The displacement of a bone out of its anatomical space within the joint. Usually caused by trauma or it can occur from overuse injuries.
Diuretic It is a substance to increase the urination process.
Dupuytren’s contracture A fibrous proliferation in the palmar fascia of the hand, that gradually leads to a flexion deformity of the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints in the hand.
Dura mater It is the outermost covering of the spinal cord and spinal nerves among the meningeal layers in the brain and spinal cord.
Dynamometer It is a Mechanical instrumental that is used for the measurement of concentric and eccentric muscle action, muscle endurance and muscle balance ratios. Usually associated with isokinetic testing, providing variable, accommodating resistance.
Dysfunction Any abnormality in the functioning of a tissue or organ is termed as Dysfunction.


Eccentric Contraction The contraction of a muscle where the muscle fibres are lengthened, thus origin and insertion moves away from each other.
Echocardiogram It is the use of ultrasound waves to record the activity of the heart.
Effusion Periarticular swelling in the joint space is often termed as Effusion.
Electrocardiogram It is the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart using the electrodes placed superficially over the chest.
Electromygram A diagnostic test used to evaluate the electrical activity of the muscles in the body.
Electrotherapy It is the use of electrical current of varying frequencies in the treatment of various musculoskeletal and neurological disorders e.g. ultrasound, short wave diathermy, interferential therapy, biofeedback, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation and laser.
Embolus It is a circulating Thrombous in a blood vessel.
Endfeel A characteristic sensation felt by a examiner at the end of range of motion of a joint.
Endorphins These are endogenous substances produced by central nervous system and pituitary gland against painful stimulus in the body. They are infact natural painkillers in the body.
Entrapment neuropathy It is pathological situation in which a nerve gets trapped in an abnormally produced anatomical or physiological site.
Epicondyle It is a raised prominence on a bone. An epicondyle is usually an attachment point for a muscle, tendon or ligament.
Epicondylitis Inflammation of soft tissue and bone at the epicondyle of a long bone. Lateral epicondylitis is commonly known as Tennis Elbow.
Epilepsy It is a brain disorder often characterised by recurrent seizures.
Epiphysis It is the end area of a ‘long bone’. These areas are made of cartilage and don’t ‘ossify’ or become bone until adulthood. They are responsible for growth of the bone.
Erector spinae These are the anti-gravity” muscles that lie posteriorly to the spine.
Ergonomics It is a brach of science dealing with obtaining a correct match between the human body, work-related tasks, and work tools.
Essex-Lopresti fracture Fracture of the head of the radius along with dislocation of the inferior radioulnar joint.
Etiology The study of the causes of a disease process.
Eversion The action of turning a body part outwards.
Extension A movement whereby the body parts are brought into a straight position.
Extensor A muscle which causes an extension movement.
Extensor tendons – of the wrist The tendons on the back of the forearm muscles that extend the wrist joint. These muscles are Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis; Extensor Digitorum Communis; Extensor Carpi Ulnaris; Extensor Digiti Minimi.
External bone stimulator It is a electromagnetic device used to stimulate bone growth and healing. It is usually worn during sleep and is held in place with velcro straps.
External Rotation A description for an anatomical movement where the the body part involved is rolled out, away from the mid line of the body.
Extra-articular That which lies externally to the articular surfaces of the joint.


Fabella Fabella is a sesamoid bone that is present under the lateral head of gastrocnemius, which often articulates with the condyle of femur bone.
Fascia It is a layer of fibrous sheath that encloses tissues and organs.
Fasciotomy To relive pressure in the fascia, surgical incision is made in the skin to open up the fascia.
Fat pad A pouch of closely packed fat cells surrounded by fibrous tissue septa.
Femur Femur is the strongest, longest bone in the human body. It is present in the thigh bone.
Fibroblasts A specialised cell that arises following inflammation and is responsible for laying down Collagen that forms scar tissue.
Fibrocartilage A type of cartilage that is made of thick collagen bundles that are separated by narrow clefts. This tough cartilage is ideal as a ‘spacer’ or shock absorber in a joint. Fibrocartilage makes up the knee meniscus and the labrum tissue of the hip and shoulder.
Fibromyalgia a chronic condition of muscles characterised by widespread pain in muscles and soft tissues surrounding the joints throughout the body. Formation of muscle spasm occurs at different sites in the body.
Fibrositis It is the inflammatory condition of the muscles characterised by pain and swelling and stiffness in the muscles.
Fibula It is a long bone present on outer side in the lower leg.
Fine Motor Skills Motor skills refer to a person’s ability to perform co-ordinated movements using a combination of muscle actions. Fine Motor Skills tend to be initiated by smaller muscles such as those in the hand and they produce actions such as picking something up between the thumb and fingers or unscrewing the top from a bottle.
Flat Feet Also called as Pes Planus. Flat Feet is a condition in which the medial border of the foot is more than usually close to the ground and the medial arch is absent.
Flexion The movement of a joint in which either insertion moves towards origin or in some cases origin moves towards insertion.
Flexor A muscle that produces flexion movement at a joint.
Fracture Any break in the continuity of the bone is called Fracture.
Free Radicals These are some Unstable particles situated within the cells that may be implicated in the development of Cancer.
Freiberg’s disease Also called as an osteochondritis dissecans, due to an osteochondral fracture, with avascular necrosis of the bone, usually involving the head of the second metatarsal.
Frozen shoulder Can also be called as ” adhesive capsulitis” of the shoulder, which undergoes four distinct stages of pathology: Pain; Pain and stiffness; Stiffness; Resolution. These four stages usually run a protracted course, varying in length from 9 – 18 months.


Gait It is the normal or abnormal pattern of walking or locomotion of an individual.
Galeazzi fracture Fracture of distal end of radius with subluxation or dislocation of the inferior radioulnar joint.
Ganglion Benign tumour of synovium arising from the tendon sheath.
Ganglion Cyst It is a fluid-filled cyst that forms on the top of a joint or tendon sheath in the hand or wrist. Most commonly over wrist joint.
Gastrocnemius It is one of the Calf muscles having two heads- medial and lateral heads. It is said to be second heart in the body as pumping action of gastrocnemius muscles helps in maintaining circulation in the lower limbs.
Genu valgum It is a kind of deformity seen at the knee. Commonly known as “knock knees”.
Genu varum It is a kind of deformity commonly seen at the knee. Commonly known as “bowing of legs”.
Gerdy’s tubercle It is the site of insertion of iliotibial band at lateral tubercle over upper end of tibia . Common site of pathology due to friction of iliotibial band on bone.
Glenohumeral It is pure shoulder joint formed by head of humerus and glenoid cavity of the scapula.
Glenoid The area of the shoulder blade that forms the socket of the glenohumeral joint.
Gluteus maximus Large, superficial muscles present over buttocks, helps greatly in locomotion.
Glycogen It is a reserve of energy. It is obtained from carbohydrates in the diet.
Golfer’s Elbow Also called Medial epicondylitis. There is inflammation of the flexor muscles tendons at the medial epicondyle of the humerus. Characterised by swelling and pain at Inside of elbow joint.
Goniometer It is a assessment tool to check range of motion of a joint of the human body.
Gout It is a metabolic disease associated with hyperuricaemia, with symptoms occurring as a result of uric acid crystals being deposited into the tissues. Most common site in the body can be great toe.
Granulation Tissue It is the fibrous tissue that forms after clotting of the blood as part of the inflammatory process. As it matures it becomes scar tissue.
Groin injuries Description of injury to any one of the following muscles: sartorius; long head of rectus femoris; any or all of the adductor muscles; the abdominals or the iliopsoas.
Groin strain The common term for an Adductor muscle tendon injury or strain.
Gross Motor Skills Gross Motor Skills tend to be performed by large muscles and they produce bigger body movements such as running and jumping.
Guillain-Barre syndrome A neurological disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks some or all part of the nervous system, resulting in depletion of motor and sensory functions in the body.


Haemarthrosis It is the intra-articular bleeding from the vessels around a joint, leading to joint effusion and echchymosis.
Haematoma Bleeding into muscles, usually as a result of blunt trauma.
Haemorrhage Bleeding into the surrounding as a result of vessel rupture from high blood pressure.
Hallux rigidus There is loss of movement of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the first (great) toe, particularly extension.
Hallux valgus Deformity of the metatarsophalangeal (MTP) joint of the first toe, whereby the toe deviates into the lateral position.
Hammer toe Deformity of the toe whereby there is PIP flexion and DIP extension. The MTP is usually extended or neutral.
Hamstrings Muscles situated in the posterior compartment of the thigh. Made up of the semitendinosus, semimembranosus and biceps femoris muscles.
Handicap Barriers imposed by society, the environment, or attitudes that prevent a person with a disability from performing a role that is normal for that person.
Hangman’s fracture Fracture of pedicle lamina of C2 vertebra.
Heberden’s nodes These are the arthritic changes around the margins of joints, associated with deformation of joint surfaces.
Hernia A proliferation of a body part through rupture in the continuity of a tissue.
Herniated Disc Disc Herniation means release of the nuclear material from the enveloping annulus fibrous capsule that is precipitated by wear and tear.
Hill-Sachs lesion Depression of the greater tuberosity of humeral head following dislocation is known as a Hill-Sachs lesion.
Hindfoot The posterior portion of the foot, generally associated with calcaneum.
Hip pointer Contusion injury to the iliac crest.
Horner’s syndrome Generally characterised by ptosis of the eyelid. Caused by interruption to the sympathetic nerves to the face and eye.
Hot Pack A warm therapeutic pack applied to a body part to relieve pain and muscle spasm.
Housemaid’s knee Inflammation of the superficial infrapatellar bursa at the knee joint, characterised by pain, swelling and stiffness at knee joint.
Humerus The bone of the upper arm. Also called funny bone.
Hyaline Cartilage The articular cartilage that covers the end of bones at the large joints in the body. It has a glassy, shiny appearance and is designed to allow friction free movement.
Hydrotherapy Rehabilitation exercises performed in a appropriately designed pool of warm water.
Hyperextension Movement of a joint beyond the normal limit of extension.
Hypermobility An increase in the normal range of joint movement. This may lead to instability.
Hypertrophy An increase in the size of the tissue.
Hypomobility An decrease in the normal range of joint movement. Often characterised by the loss of accessory movements.
Hypoxia Depletion of oxygen concentration in the tissues. Often caused by a cessation of blood flow and hence oxygen carrying cells.


idiopathic When the cause of any condition is unknown.
Idiopathic pain Pain of unknown origin.
Iliotibial band friction syndrome Pain over the lateral compartment of the knee at Gerdy’s tubercle. Usually brought on by running.
Immobilization Prevention of movement, presumably to allow for natural healing to take place. Side effects include disuse atrophy, deconditioning of muscles and stiffness.
impairment loss of normal function of part of the body due to disease or injury, such as paralysis of the leg.
Impingement syndrome Impingement syndrome is a painful condition that commonly affects the shoulder due to impingement of the muscles, tendons and bursa that lies within the space between head of humerus and acromion process of scapula. .
Incision A surgical cut through skin and soft tissue.
Inflammation It is the first stage of the body’s natural healing response. It is characterised by pain, swelling, heat, redness and loss of function.
Infrapatellar bursa Fluid filled sac located between the patellar ligament and the skin.
Infrapatellar fat pad Lies deep to the patellar ligament and fills the space between the condyles of the tibia and the femur.
Insulin A hormone released by the Pancreas which regulates the breakdown of Carbohydrates. Insulin deficiency can lead to Diabetes.
Intercostal muscles Muscles lying between ribs and are often injured by rotary stress of the thorax.
Internal Rotation A description for an anatomical movement in which part is moved toward inwards, towards the mid line of the body.
Interosseous Membrane A band of fibrous tissue that connects two bones in the forearm and lower leg.
Intervertebral disc The disc is a cartilaginous pad between two consecutive vertebral bodies, providing extremely efficient shock absorption. Made up of the annulus fibrosis, nucleus pulposus and the cartilage end plates.
Intra-articular Means within the joint.
Intramedullary Pertaining to the medullary cavity (centre) of a bone.
Intramedullary nail A Titanium nail that is surgically inserted through the medullary cavity of a bone, in order to achieve fixation of broken bone.
Intramedullary screw A Titanium screw that is surgically inserted through the medullary cavity of a bone, in order to achieve fixation of a broken bone.
Ischemia Death of tissues due to lack of blood supply.
Isokinetic A muscle contraction performed with a constant resistance throughout the range of motion.
Isometric Contraction A muscle contraction where there is no movement at the involved joints.
Isotonic It is a muscle contraction without any change in muscle tension.
Itis A suffix denoting any inflammation of a part of the body.


Jefferson’s fracture Fracture of first cervical vertebra.
Jersey finger Avulsion of flexor digitorum profundus tendon from its insertion on distal phalanx.
Joint The site of a junction of two or more bones of the body. Joint is surrounded by a joint capsule.
Joint Capsule A membranous sac that encloses synovial joints. And keeps the bones at a place in the joint.
Joint Mobilisation The passive movement of a joint in order to restore range of movement or to relieve pain. This can be passive, where the therapist controls movement; or active, where the patient controls movement.
Jumper’s knee The patellar tendon connects the kneecap to the lower leg bone. Jumper’s knee is the inflammation of the Patellar tendon. It can cause pain, swelling, and limitation of movement at knee joint.


Knee reconstruction It is the restoration of “normal” biomechanics of the knee, using tendon grafts to replace damaged tissues through special surgery techniques. Commonly seen with ACL injuries. If the knee is unstable, reconstructive procedures are undertaken to restore dynamic stability of the joint.
Kyphosis It is an increased posterior curvature of the thoracic spine, either due to poor postural habits or some pathological processes occurring around the tissues of the spine.


Labrum It is the circular shaped fibro-cartilaginous rim that lines ball and socket joints such as the hip and shoulder, in order to increase joint congruency and provides stability to the joint.
Laminectomy It is the surgical removal of a portion of the lamina, to relieve the compression of of the nerves at the spine.
Laser therapy LASER stands for Light Amplification through Stimulated Emission of Radiation. Use of low powered lasers, for treatment of pain, swelling, inflammation and promotion of healing.
Lateral It is a anatomical term used for structures away from the mid line of the body. It is generally outer surface of a body part.
Lateral Collateral Ligament It is one of the collateral ligament at knee joint. It lies on the outer side of the knee joint. It runs from Lateral Condyle of the femur to the head of the Fibula in the knee.
Lateral epicondylitis It is a condition affecting the lateral compartment of the elbow, especially the extensor tendon of the carpii radialis brevis. It is also called as Tennis Elbow.
Leg length It is generally measured from the anterior superior iliac spine, to the tip of the medial malleolus, although this may be inaccurate in the presence of pelvic rotation or asymmetry. Leg length discrepancies may not be significant if they are less than 6 mm.
Lesion Any damage to the body tissues is known as a lesion.
Ligaments Strong fibrous bands comprised of collagen tissue. Two bones are held together by ligaments and it provides stability to a joint. Any injury to ligament is called Sprain.
Lordosis It is the anterior curvature of the spine, whereby there is hollowing. Normal lordosis is seen in the lumbar spine and cervical spine.
Lower back It is the region in the body which lies under thoracic area; consists of vertebrae, disks, spinal cord, and nerves. It is the main concern of pain in many individuals.
Lumbago A commonly used term to describe any pain related to lower back region in the body.
Lumbar Vertebra The five bones that make up the lower back in the body, located just above the Sacrum.
Lumbo-Sacral The area of the lower back involving lumbar vertebrae and Sacrum vertebrae.
Lymph Liquid found in the lymphatic vessels of the lymphatic system. It is comprised primarily of water, plasma proteins and blood cells.


Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) It is a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnetic field, radio frequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body. It is generally done to predict the injuries mostly associated with the soft tissue in the body.
Malleolus The rounded bony prominences located on either side of the ankle joint in the body. It Is labelled as Lateral Malleolus and Medial Malleolus.
Mallet finger It is a condition of the hand occurring due to the rupture of the long extensor tendon of the finger, at its insertion into the base of the distal phalanx of the finger in the hand. It is also known as Baseball finger.
Manual therapy The art of passive movement techniques. It also involves mobilisation of joint surface by skilled and trained physiotherapist.
Massage It is a technique to mobilize the soft tissues by passive manipulation of the tissues using stroking, kneading and percussion techniques.
Medial An anatomical term for structures nearest to the mid line of the body.
Medial Epicondylitis It is a condition affecting the structure at medial epicondyle of humerus, causing inflammation and swelling over lateral epicondyle. The pain is generally caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm.
Meninges It is the outer covering of the brain. These are thin layers of tissue that cover the brain. The three layers are the dura mater, the arachnoid, and the pia mater.
Meniscectomy It is the surgical removal of a torn part of meniscus. Usually performed arthroscopically.
Menisci These are two crescent-shaped discs of fibro-cartilagenous connective tissue between the bones of the knees that act as shock absorbers to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body.
Meniscus It is a semi circular shaped fibrocartilagenous connective tissue ‘spacer’ within the knee joint. Its function is to act as a shock absorber and increase the congruency of the knee joint.
Metaphysis The wider part ‘long bone’ towards its end.
Metatarsalgia A common term used to describe pain in the region of the Metatarsal bones of the foot.
Microtrauma Microscopic trauma and damage to tissue following physical exertion and stretch.
Mobilization Passive movement technique that is performed as a oscillatory movements in either the physiological or accessory range of a joint. These are performed passively by a therapist and are in control of a patient.
Morton’s neuroma Morton’s neuroma is a painful condition that affects the ball of your foot, most commonly the area between your third and fourth toes.
Motor skills Motor skills refer to a person’s ability to perform co-ordinated movements using a combination of muscle actions. These can be fine motor skills and gross motor skills.
Multifidus Deep muscle of lumbar spine. Its primary function is to stabilise the lumbar spine in neutral position.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) It is a disease of the central nervous system that can be relatively benign, disabling, or devastating, leaving the patient unable to speak, walk, or write. It effects the locomotion and activities of daily living of a person affected with it.
Muscle It is fibrous contractile tissue that is responsible for movement of a body part and locomotion. There are voluntary and involuntary muscles in the body.
Muscular Dystrophy The name given to a group of diseases that are, for the most part, genetically determined and cause gradual wasting of muscle with accompanying weakness and deformity.
Myofascial Pain An aching pain in muscles that tends to be associated with poor posture leading to tightness of the fascia; patients can become sore in different parts of the body, such as the neck and arms, and often report they have difficulty sleeping or feeling restored from sleep.
Myositis Ossificans It is a complication arising after early mobilisation following fracture healing in elbow injuries. It is a condition where calcium is deposited within muscle tissue. It usually occurs subsequent to a haematoma or bleed within muscle tissue, commonly known as a dead leg. It is also more likely to occur if massage is used too early in the treatment of a dead leg. This is because the pressure of the massage can re-start bleeding in the tissues, as the calcium deposits are derived from the blood clotting process.
Myotome It is a Segment of a muscle innervated by a nerve. Testing of specific nerve root function can be performed by testing myotomes at different levels.


Nerve A cord like structures, comprised of neurons, that transmit impulses between the central nervous system and other parts of the body. Nerves are classified as sensory, motor or mixed nerves.
Neuralgia It is a painful condition arising out of irritation to the nerves.
Neuritis It is the Inflammatory condition of nerve tissue or nerves. This can cause localised pain or referred pain and sometimes weakness, or a loss of sensation.
Neurogenic Anything originating from nerves.
Neurological Conditions relating to the nervous system.
Neurologist A specialist consultant in neurology.
Neurology The study of the nervous system and diseases of it.
Neuromuscular Any conditions relating to the muscles and nerves.
Neuropathy It is a general term used to describe dysfunction of peripheral nerves leading to pain, numbness, tingling and muscular weakness in affected area.
Night stick fracture Fracture of the shaft of the ulna.
Non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) These are the Medicines which produces antipyretic, analgesic and, most importantly, anti-inflammatory effects. They act by modifying the complex chemical process that mediates inflammation in musculoskeletal conditions.
Non Union It is a complication occurring, because of an impairment of bone healing, a fracture fails to heal. Non union fractures may require surgery.
Nucleus pulposus It is the central part of the intervertebral disc.


Oedema It is a swelling phenomenon arising out of soft tissue injury, which can be intra- or extra-articular.
Orthosis It is artificial device commonly known as brace or splint used to support or stabilize part of the body, usually an arm or leg.
Orthotic A medical appliance or device, which is used to improve function by providing support to the joint.
Orthotist Orthotist is a skilled professional who applies orthotic devices in order to improve function.
Osgood-Schlatter’s disease Osgood-Schlatter disease can be defined as an inflammation of the bone and surrounding soft tissue just below the knee.
It occurs at the point where the shinbone attaches to the tendon of the kneecap.
Osteitis pubis Inflammatory condition of the pubic symphysis, usually as a result of overuse. Pain can be felt bilaterally, in the groin region, thigh lower abdomen and around the perineal structures.
Osteoarthritis It is a degenerative joint disease, characterised by wear and tear of the articular surface of a joint. This can occur due to repeated overuse, but the incidence and onset of osteoarthritis is increased secondary to trauma, such as major ligamentous injury or meniscal injury in the knee.
Osteoblasts These are the cells found in bone that are responsible for producing bone tissue and also help in healing of a broken bone..
Osteoclasts These are large multinucleated cells found in bone that are responsible for re-absorbing bone tissue.
Osteomyelitis It is the inflammatory condition of a bone caused by a bacterial infection. It is characterised by severe pain and generalised fever.
Osteophyte These are the outgrowth of bone, usually in reaction to pathological processes within, or at, a joint following a degenerative process.
Osteoporosis A bone disease characterised by decreased bone mineral density. In this calcium and phosphorus levels are reduced as compared to normal levels.
Overuse Injury An injury when there is repeated overuse of a particular body part leading to wear and tear of the muscle fibres.


Pain It is an unpleasant experience, often emotional or sensory, primarily associated with tissue damage.
Palpation It is the art of examination by feeling the underlying structures manually by fingers of the hand.
Palsy It is defined as a paralysis of a muscle or group of muscles arising as a disorder of neurons in brain and spinal cord..
Paraplegia It is defined as a complete loss of movement and sensation in both legs arising as a result of traumatic spinal cord injury at thoracic level.
Paraesthesia These are the abnormal sensation often felt as pins and needles or prickling sensation.
Patella It is a kind of sesamoid bone present at knee joint under the quadriceps muscle tendon.
Patellar dislocation/subluxation Instability of the patello-femoral joint, whereby the patella usually dislocates laterally. Degree of instability may be examined with the Apprehension test. It arises due to medial patellofemoral ligament injury following direct or indirect trauma to knee joint.
Patellar tendinitis Inflammatory condition of the patellar tendon at knee joint, usually due to overuse. There can be minimal to moderate swelling over patellar tendon along with pain while doing activities requiring knee mobility.
Patello-femoral dysfunction Also known as Chondromalacia Patellae. May be dysfunctional, whereby the patellar tracking mechanism is altered, giving rise to a pain syndrome.
Patello-Femoral Joint The joint between the knee cap and the thigh bone. As the knee joint bends the knee cap glides in a groove at the front of the thigh bone.
Patellofemoral Maltracking Usually, when the knee is bent or straightened, the knee cap moves along a path that is controlled by the quadriceps muscles. Due to this muscular weakness or some other cause, knee cap may not slide evenly during knee flexion and extension. This is called Patellar Tracking Disorder and produces abnormal stresses on the under-surface of the patella that can cause pain.
Pathology It is the study of disease processes.
Periostitis Inflammatory condition at the insertion point of a muscle and bone. Commonly seen in the lower leg, manifesting itself as “shin splints”.
Peroneal Tendon Subluxation/Dislocation Because of presence of a shallow peroneal groove that predisposes to the subluxation or dislocation, occurs usually after an inversion injury. Patients with this condition generally complains of a “popping” sound or a “snapping” sensation behind the lateral malleolus. They usually relocate spontaneously.
Perthe’s Disease It is an osteochondritis of the epiphysis of the femoral head. In this disease, the femoral head becomes partly or wholly avascular and deformed. It affects growing children, and is characterised by a temporary loss of blood supply to the hip.
Pes Anserinus Bursitis The pes anserine bursa is a small lubricating sac located between the shinbone (tibia) and three tendons of the hamstrings muscle at the inside of the knee. Any inflammation of this bursa can produce pain while descending stairs in the inside of the knee, approximately 2-3 cms below the knee joint, that is why its called Pes Anserinus Bursitis. It occurs when the bursa becomes irritated and produces too much fluid, which causes it to swell and put pressure on the adjacent parts of the knee.
Pes Cavus It is a deformity of the foot which is characterised by an increased elevation of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot, so that the forefoot lies at a lower level than the hindfoot.
Pes Planus It is a deformity of the foot which is characterised by a lowering of the medial longitudinal arch of the foot. Also known as “pronated feet”.
Phantom Pain It is an unpleasant sensation that occurs after an amputation, below the level of the amputated limb. It occurs due to inflammation of the nerve in the stump.
Physiatrist Physiatrist is a physician who specializes in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
Physiatry It is a branch of medicine that deals with restoring function for a person who has been disabled as a result of a disease, disorder, or injury. Person who specializes in this medicine is called Physiatrist.
Physiological It is a branch of science dealing with normal functioning of a living body and it’s tissues.
Piriformis Syndrome This occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed by the piriformis muscle due to a contracture or spasm.
Plantar Fascia It is a thick band of fibrous tissue on the sole of the foot, that connects the heel bone to the base of the toes.
Plantar Fasciitis Plantar fasciitis (PLAN-tur fas-e-I-tis) is one of the most common causes of heel pain. It involves inflammation of a thick band of tissue that runs across the bottom of your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes (plantar fascia).
Plantarflexion It is the downward movement of the foot at the ankle joint, such as when pressing down one of the pedals when driving a car.
Plicae It is a synovial fold, which may become pathological and painful if there is some form of trauma. Around the knee, the most common plicae are the mediopatellar plica and the suprapatellar plica.
Podiatrist A physician who specializes in conditions related to ankle and foot.
Popliteal Fossa It is the region at the back of the knee joint.
Posterior Anatomical term related to structures situated at the back of the body.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament The Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) passes backwards and downwards from the bottom of the femur (thigh bone) to the top of the tibia (shin bone). Its main purpose is to prevent the tibia slipping backwards on the femur.
Postural control The ability to maintain balance. This is the ability to keep segments of the body aligned within the body’s base of support.
Prednisolone It is a corticosteroid medication, usually utilised in highly inflammatory conditions where faster recovery is required.
Prepatellar bursitis It is an inflammation of the pre patellar bursa in the front of the kneecap (patella). It occurs when the bursa becomes irritated and produces too much fluid, which causes it to swell.
PRICE PRICE stands for – Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.
Proprioception It is a function of receptors by which nerve receptors in skin, muscle, ligament and joint tissue relay information to the brain about body position sense, where this information is quickly processed and movement strategies are formulated and executed using nerve signals to muscles.
Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation (PNF) These techniques improve motor skill through positive motor transfer, using the principles of facilitation/inhibition; irradiation/reinforcement; reciprocal innervation (i.e. maximal contraction of agonist muscle results in maximal relaxation of the antagonist); and successive induction (i.e. flexion augments extension and extension augments flexion).
Prosthesis It is a artificial limb used to replace lost limb after amputation.
Protein Proteins are chains of Amino Acids that are important for the development and repair of body tissues, such as connective tissue and muscle. They are derived from meat, eggs, fish and milk.
PSWD Pulsed Short-wave Diathermy. An electrotherapy modality whereby an electromagnetic field is introduced to the body to facilitate healing.
Pubic symphysis It is area in the pelvis by which two pelvic bones are connected together..
Pulmonary Any conditions pertaining to the lungs.
Q-Angle It is also called as ‘quadriceps angle’. The Q Angle is measured at the intersection of two lines: one drawn from a bony point at the front of the hip to the mid-point of the knee cap and the other from the mid-point of the knee cap to the insertion point for the Patella tendon, at the upper part of the shin.
Quadriceps Large muscle located at front of thigh, made up of rectus femoris, vastus medialis, vastus lateralis and vastus intermedius.
Quadriplegia Loss of motor power and sensation in all four limbs. Bladder and bowel functions may or may not be present.


Radiograph An x-ray image.
Radius One of the bone of forearm, present on outer side of forearm.
Rancho scales Levels of a patient’s response to external stimuli and the environment following a brain injury.
Range Of Motion It is the range of movement available at a joint. It can be active as well as passive range of motion.
Referred Pain It can be described as a pain that originates from one part of the body and travels either into a part of limb or whole limb.
Rehabilitation It is the process of training a person to achieve the highest level of function, independence, and quality of life possible. And to rehabilitate back him to previous activity level before injury.
Reiter’s syndrome Usually made of the triad of urethritis, conjunctivitis and arthritis. Any peripheral joint may be involved, usually joints of the lower limb, with a synovitis that is often intense and asymmetrical. Achilles tendinitis is very common, as are tendon sheath or tendon conditions.
Repetitive Strain Injury Repetitive strain injury, or RSI is a generic term that is used to describe many different overuse soft tissue injuries including carpel tunnel syndrome and overuse tendon problems. Repeated activities are implicated in its onset, although stress and poor posture also often play a part.
Resection It is the surgical removal of a part of the body.
Retrolisthesis It is the slippage of vertebra in a posterior direction.
Rheumatoid arthritis Inflammatory condition affecting mainly small synovial joints, gradually can progress to large joints. Many deformities are characteristically seen in the Rheumatoid arthritic patient.
Rheumatologist A doctor who specialises in the treatment of rheumatic disorders which affect the joints and connective tissue of the body.
Rigidity Increased resistance to the passive movement of a limb.
Rolando’s Fracture Extra-articular fracture of the base of the first metacarpal bone.
Rotator Cuff It is a term given to four muscles around glenohumeral joint providing dynamic stability to shoulder joint. They are Supraspinatus, Subscapularis, Infraspinatus and Teres Minor.
Rupture A complete tear of soft tissue.


Sacro-Iliac Joint The joint formed at the junctions between Sacrum and the Ilium bones of the pelvis. The Sacro-Iliac joint can be a source of lower back pain.
Sacrum The bone at the base of the spine, formed by five fused vertebrae.
Scaphoid fracture Fracture of the scaphoid bone in the wrist joint, when there is a fall onto the outstretched hand in hyperextension.
Scapula It is the shoulder blade. They are one on each side of upper back.
Scapulo-Humeral Rhythm It is the ratio of the movements of clavicular rotation, scapular gilding, scapular rotation and gleno-humeral elevation, during movement of the glenohumeral joint.
Schmorl’s Nodes It can be described as a fractured end plates, often large enough to allow the nucleus pulposus to extrude into the vertebral body. It is usually seen in thoracic vertebrae or thoracolumbar area.
Sciatica It is the perception of pain and altered sensation along the course of the Sciatic nerve – the buttocks, hamstring, calf, heel and foot. This is usually caused by a problem in the lower back; but can be due to irritation at any part of the Sciatic nerve either in scitic foramen or all g its path in the lower limb.
Sclerotome Historical depiction, via a body map, indicating regions of the body that are supplied by a spinal nerve, presumably corresponding to an area of pain or symptomatology.
Scoliosis It can be defined as any lateral curvature of the spinal column. The cause may be structural, compensatory or protective.
Seizure A seizure is an abnormal activity of the brain which usually occurs when part(s) of the brain receives a burst of abnormal electrical signals that temporarily interrupts normal electrical brain function.
Sensori-motor system The system that is responsible for processing information related to body position then performing movement. The Sensory component comprises of sensory receptors in joints and soft tissues which send signals to the brain via nerve pathways. The Motor system comprises of muscles that receive nerve impulse signals from the central nervous system via nerve pathways.
Sequestrated disc A term describing the complete detachment of a portion of prolapsed nucleus pulposus, with migration, often, into the spinal canal.
Sesamoiditis It is defined as an inflammatory condition affecting the two the flexor tendon of the great toe. It is usually precipitated by trauma. If the trauma is sever enough, fracture may result.
Sever’s Disease Ot is the traction apophysitis of the calcaneum at the insertion of the Achilles tendon. It Can mimic tendinitis.
Shin Splints A general term that is- used to describe any painful conditions of the shin. ‘Shin splints’ or ‘Exertional Lower limb Pain’ is usually caused by either a Tibial stress fracture; Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome; Tibialis Posterior tendinopathy or Chronic Compartment Syndrome.
Shoulder Impingement It is a condition that occurs when a rotator cuff tendon or a bursa in the shoulder gets compressed in the coracoacromial arch of shoulder as the arm is raised; symptoms can include arm and shoulder pain, especially upon lifting the arm above shoulder level.
Side Flexion It is a anatomical movement of the vertebrae in which there is bending to the side.
Sinding-Larsen-Johansson’s Disease Traction osteochondrosis at the inferior pole of the patella, which may avulse to form a “teardrop” ossicle within the patellar tendon.
Sinuvertebral nerve From the spinal nerve, after its formation from the joining of the ventral and dorsal nerves, comes a small filament of nerve, which is joined by a branch from the sympathetic trunk – this is the sinuvertebral nerve or “recurrent nerve of Luschka”. It re-enters the spinal canal through the intervertebral foramen and provides innervation to the dura mater, the posterior longitudinal ligament, blood vessels, periosteum and the outer fibres of the annulus fibrosus.
SLAP Lesion Slap stands for Superior Labrum Lesion from anterior to posterior
Smith’s Fracture It is a fracture distal end of radius with palmar displacement.
Soft Callus It is a mass of woven bone that is loosely bound and forms around a fracture site following a healing process.
Soft Tissue In musculoskeletal context soft tissues refers to skin, muscle, tendon and ligament tissue around joints and bones in the human body.
Spasm A condition in which a muscle or group of muscles is in a state of permanent involuntarily contraction.
Spasticity Increased muscle tone that results in a tightening and shortening of a muscle following a neurological disorder specially upper motor neuron lesions.
Spina Bifida Occulta It is a condition in which there is non-union of the laminae, most commonly L5, posteriorly behind the cauda equina. It may be simply due to a failure of ossification of united cartilaginous neural arch, or else, it may be associated with quite severe abnormalities of the dural sac, cauda equina and spinal cord.
Spinal Canal Stenosis Narrowing of the spinal canal leading to compression of the cord situated in the canal. May be due to congenital factors, developmental factors or degenerative processes. Degenerative processes may occur in the intervertebral disc, zygapophyseal joints and with concurrent thickening of the ligamentum flavum. The most common symptom is leg pain on activity, with or without paraesthesia or anaesthesia, and quickly relieved with rest.
Spinal Cord It is a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.
Spinal Instability increased motion between vertebra, usually resulting from an injury; pain typically feels like tingling in the neck or arms.
Spinal Stenosis a narrowing of the spinal canal that creates pressure on the spinal cord and nerve roots; symptoms can include low back pain and leg pain
Spondylitis It is a chronic degenerative disorder in which there is inflammation of the vertebrae of the spine, which causes stiffness and an increased kyphotic curvature of the spine.
Spondylolisthesis It is the forward displacement of one vertebra over other vertebrae. Most commonly seen at L5/S1. It is divided into Grades 1 – 4.
Spondylolysis It is a defect of vertebrae caused by a defect in the pars interarticularis, a narrow strip of bone lying between the lamina and the inferior articular process below, and the pedicle and the superior articular process above. May be congenital, of traumatic origin or of overuse, resulting in a stress fracture. In oblique x-ray views, which have the appearance of a “Scotty Dog”, a spondylolysis through the pars interarticularisshowing will show up a “collar” around the dog’s neck.
Spondylolysthesis A forward slippage of one vertebra in relation to an adjacent vertebra, due to a fracture or congenital defect at the Pars Interarticularis area of the vertebra.
Spondylosis It is a degenerative process which affects the intervertebral disc. Most commonly, the major change is that of osteophytosis, the formation of bony spurs along the junction of the vertebral bodies and the corresponding intervertebral discs.
Sprain A tear or partial tear of ligament tissue surrounding a joint, due to trauma such as a twist. A sprain may also affect other surrounding soft tissues surrounding the joint and can even be accompanied by bony injury.
Sterno Clavicular Joint The articulation between the sternum and the clavicle.
Stirrups Technique of ankle strapping using rigid tape (usually zinc oxide). The tape is placed on the ankle, medial to lateral adhering to the undersurface of the heel, mimicking a “stirrup”.
Straight Leg Raise It is a special test for measuring sciatic nerve mobility and/or hamstring length.
Strain A tear or partial tear of muscle tissue/tendon. It can occur as a forceful contraction or following trauma.
Stress Fracture A subtle break in the continuity of bone tissue (sometimes known as a hairline fracture) due to repeated overuse stresses on the bone tissue. It may also be seen secondary to some underlying bone disease like bone infection, osteoarthritis etc.
Stroke It is a term used for a problems related to the brain areas. Alternatively a stroke may be de to a bleed in or around the brain due to a damaged blood vessel.
Subacromial Space It is a area in front of shoulder joint which lies between acromian process of scapula and the head of humerus. Coracoacromial Arch lies in this space.
Subluxation A partial dislocation of a joint due to ligament laxity or following trauma or may be present since birth.
Sudeck’s Atrophy It is a condition which is commonly seen in the foot, but may occur in other joints of the lower limb. It is characterized by pain, swelling and disability. Aetiology is unknown, but it probably represents a neurovascular disorder leading to an intense hyperaemia and osteoporosis of bone.
Supination It is an anatomical movement – specifically turning the palm of the hand upwards. It occurs at superior and inferior radio-ulnar joints in forearm.
Supraspinatus impingement It is defined as chronic irritation to the supraspinatus tendon in subacromial space. Characterised by pain, into abduction, and positive “impingement” tests.
Supraspinatus tendonitis It is the overuse injury of the supraspinatus tendon. Active contraction of the supraspinatus will cause pain and there is usually an arc of pain on abduction – between 60°-120°.
Syndesmosis A kind of joint where the two bones are connected by an interosseous membrane or ligament.
Synovial Fluid A transparent fluid which is secreted by the Synovial membrane. It is found in joint spaces, tendon sheaths and bursa.
Synovial Joint A type of joint which allows free movement in different directions. The joint is lined by an articular capsule and a synovial membrane.
Synovitis Inflammatory condition of a synovial membrane, in which there is pain and swelling is felt in a joint.
Synovium It is a thin membrane (in freely moving joints) that secretes a fluid that allows for movement between the solid parts of a joint.


T4 syndrome Compression of T4 nerve in the thoracic vertebrae giving sensation of pain and tingling in arms and hand.
Technetium bone scan A sensitive radiological investigation, utilising a radio-isotope, used in the detection of stress fractures, as well as other bony pathology.
Temporomandibular joint (TMJ) It is a joint between the condyle of the mandible and the mandibular fossa and the articular eminence of the temporal bone.
Tendinopathy Any injury associated to the tendon of a muscle.
Tendon A tough band of fibrous tissue that connects bones to muscles.
Tendonitis Any inflammatory condition of a tendon or the tendon sheath. Characterized by pain, swelling and redness.
Tennis Elbow Also called as Lateral Epicondylitis. It is an injury to the tendons on the lateral portion of the elbow that bend the wrist backward away from the palms of the hands.
Tenosynovitis It’s an Inflammatory condition of the tendon sheath.
TENS TENS stands for Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve stimulation.
Thigh strain A common term used for a Quadriceps strain.
Thoracic outlet syndrome Compression of the neurovascular bundle, comprising the brachial plexus and the subclavian artery, will produce a mix of symptoms, ranging from pain in the shoulder and arm, to neurological and vascular symptoms. The compression usually occurs in the thoracic outlet of the neck. Pain and parasthesiae are most commonly experienced on the ulnar side of the arm. Three syndromes have been identified: the costoclavicular syndrome (most common) which is characterised by a decreased space between the clavicle and the first rib; the cervical rib syndrome which is characterised by the presence of either a rib emanating from the C7 or a fibrous band passing from C7 to the first rib. Cervical ribs occur in approximately 1% of the population; and the anterior scalene syndrome (very rare) whereby the neurovascular bundle is compressed between the scalenus anterior and the scalenus medius muscles. Some tests are available to attempt to diagnose this condition, but they often provide false positives during the procedure.
Thoracic spine Vertebrae present in the thorax region comprises Comprising 12 vertebrae, sitting between the cervical and lumbar spines. Provide attachments for the ribs.
Thrombus A blood clot.
Tibia The shin bone.
Tibial Tuberosity The bony prominence at the front of the upper part of the shin bone. This is the attachement area for the Patella Tendon.
Total Joint Replacement It is a surgical procedure in which damaged joint is removed and replaced with a artificial joint.
Trachea It’s a medical term used for the windpipe.
Traction It’s a distraction force either applied to the spine or to the peripheral joints. Indicated for nerve root lesions or conditions that have, as part of their pathological process, compressive forces.
Transient Ischemic Attack Temporary loss of blood supply to tissues in the brain leads to decreased oxygen supply to the brain cells and ultimately results cell death in affected area; also called a “mini-stroke.”
Transverse Frictions This is a kind of deep massage technique generally used for tendon and ligament pathologies.
Trauma Tissue damage and injury which is caused by force.
Trendelenburg gait Intrinsic disorder of the abductors of the hip, due to either a weakness or an inhibition to function. As a result, the hip abductors are unable to stabilise the hip, as body weight is transferred to the affected side, resulting in a pelvic drop or tilt towards the opposite side.
Trigger Finger It is a inflammatory condition in which there is thickening of the tendons of the finger, which make it difficult to fold and straighten the finger.
Trochanteric Bursitis It is the inflammation of the bursa overlying greater trochanter.
Upper limb tension test (ULTT) Considered an analogue to the straight leg raise test for the lower limb, it assesses pain responses consequent upon passive movements of the upper limb and neck. The traditional ULTT produces strain on the brachial plexus by a combination of movements involving shoulder girdle depression, shoulder abduction, external rotation of the shoulder, elbow extension, forearm supination and wrist/finger extension. Cervical spine ipsilateral and contralateral lateral flexion are also important to differentiate. This traditional test provides bias to the median nerve. Variations have developed , over the years, to address the other nerves of the upper limb, including the radial nerve and ulnar nerve.


Valgus An anatomical description of a body part which is angled away from the mid line of the body. A Valgus knee position is commonly called the ‘knock kneed’ position.
Valgus deformity Refers to a lateral inclination of a distal bone, of a joint, from the midline.
Varus An anatomical description of a body part which is angled towards the mid line of the body. A Varus knee position is commonly called the ‘bow legged’ position.
Varus deformity Refers to medial inclination of a distal bone, of a joint, from the midline.
Vasoconstriction A condition of small vessel in which there is physiological decrease in the diameter of lumen of vessel.
Vastus intermedius This forms part of the quadriceps mechanism. The fibres lie in a plane parallel with the anterior aspect of the shaft of the femur.
Vastus lateralis Forms the middle layer of the quadriceps group, providing stability rather than fast movement.
Vastus medialis Located on the anteromedial aspect of the thigh. Recently been investigated for its role in patellar stability, with particular reference to patellofemoral dysfunction.
Vertebra It is one of the 33 bones that make up the spine.


Whiplash injury Sudden hyperextension and then flexion movement of the neck leading to ligament injury of the neck. It is a jerky movement, may even cause fracture.
Winging scapula Elicited when the extended arm is pushed against resistance. The scapula “wings” out when there is a weakening of the serratus anterior, usually caused by a long thoracic nerve lesion.
Wobble board An apparatus used for the re-education of proprioception and balance.


X-rays Plain radiographs that are taken to detect any bony defect in the skeletal system in the body. Also used to confirm degenerative disease processes.
Zygapophyseal joint Also called as Facet Joints in the vertebra. They are formed between the superior articular process, of the lower vertebra, and the inferior articular process, of the upper vertebra.

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