Glossary of O&P Terms
Adduction: The act of moving the limb toward the midline of the body.
Adolescent scoliosis: Lateral spinal curvature that appears before the onset of puberty and before skeletal maturity.
Adult scoliosis: Scoliosis of any cause, which is present after skeletal maturity.
Alignment: The relationship of the prosthetic foot to the socket or extremity to the center of the body.
Amputation: Surgical removal of a limb.
Assistive/Adaptive socket: Devices that assist in performance of mobility, including ramps and bars, changes in furniture heights, environmental control units and specially designed devices.
AFO: Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the lower leg and foot.
Bulbous: Refers to the residual limb being larger in circumference at the end than at the top.
Certified Orthotist (CO): A healthcare professional skilled in evaluation, design, fabrication and fitting of orthoses (braces) and other devices to straighten or support the body and/or the limbs. A Certified Orthotist, Certified by the American Board for Certification, is an individual who meets a stringent set of educational and experience requirements and successfully completes a written, oral and clinical patient management exam. This certification earns the Orthotist the right to use the credential “CO”. Once an Orthotist is certified, he/she must meet mandatory continuing education requirements.
Certified Pedorthist (C. Ped): A healthcare professional skilled in evaluation, design, fabrication and fitting of pedorthic devices for the prevention of painful and/or disabling conditions of the foot and ankle A Certified Pedorthist, Certified by the American Board for Certification, is an individual who meets a stringent set of educational and experience requirements and successfully completes a written, oral and clinical patient management exam. This certification earns the Pedorthist the right to use the credential “C.Ped”. Once a Pedorthist is certified, he/she must meet mandatory continuing education requirements.
Certified Prosthetist (CP): A healthcare professional skilled in evaluation, design, fabrication and fitting of artificial limbs. A Certified Prosthetist, Certified by the American Board for Certification, is an individual who meets a stringent set of educational and experience requirements and successfully completes a written, oral and clinical patient management exam. This certification earns the Prosthetist the right to use the credential “CP”. Once a Prosthetist is certified, he/she must meet mandatory continuing education requirements.
Certified Prosthetist and Orthotist (CPO): A healthcare professional whose responsibilities conform to those of both orthotist and prosthetist and who successfully fulfill all of the requirements in both disciplines.
Club Foot Deformity: A congenital deformity involving either one or both feet that are rotated internally at the ankle.
Control cable: Steel cable used to move and lock mechanical joints and to operate body-powered prostheses.
Cosmetic cover: A plastic foam or rubber material, laminate of stocking that gives a prosthetic device a more natural appearance.
Decompensation: In scoliosis, this refers to loss of spinal balance when the thoracic cage is not centered over the pelvis.
Definitive prosthesis: An artificial limb that is designed, fabricated and fitted after the residual limb has healed and most of the changes in shape and volume have occurred.
Discectomy: Removal of all or part of an intervertebral disc (the soft tissue that acts as a shock absorter between the vertebral bodies).
Double curve: Two lateral curvatures (scoliosis) in the same spine. Double major curve describes a scoliosis in which there are two structural curves which are usually of equal size. Double thoracic curve is a scoliosis with a structural upper thoracic curve, as well as a larger, more deforming lower thoracic curve, and a relatively nonstructural lumbar curve.
Edema: Swelling of the tissue.
Endoskeletal design: A prosthetic design that allows for the exchange of components and adjustment. An endoskeletal system is covered with a cosmetic foam that is shaped to match the sound side limb.
Energy-storing feet: Prosthetic feet with plastic springs of carbon fibers designed to help move the prosthesis forward.
Exoskeletal Design: A prosthetic design using a hard, external laminate shell.
Extension: Straightening a limb at a joint or moving it to the rear of the body.
Flexion: Bending a limb at a joint.
Flexion contracture: Shortening of the muscles at the affected joint. This can be avoided by exercising the limb and keeping it straight.
FO: (Foot Orthosis) is worn below the ankle, it encompasses any part of the foot; most commonly arch supports.
Gait: An individual’s walking pattern.
Hemivertebra: A congenital anomaly of the spine caused by incomplete development of one side of a vertebra resulting in a wedge shape.
Hysterical scoliosis: A non-structural deformity of the spine that develops as a manifestation of a psychological disorder.
HKAFO: Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the hip and leg.
Idiopathic scoliosis: A structural spinal curvature for which cause has not been established.
Immediate post-surgical fitting (IPSF): Application of a cast/rigid dressing immediately after surgery and gradual weight bearing on a preparatory prosthesis two or three days after surgery.
Infantile scoliosis: A curvature of the spine that develops before three years of age.
Juvenile scoliosis: Scoliosis developing between the ages of three and ten years.
Knee components: Devices designed to create a safe, smooth walking pattern.
* Single axis: A free swinging knee with small amount of friction.
* Stance control: A friction device with an adjustable brake mechanism to add stability.
* Polycentric: A multiple-axis joint, particularly used with a very long residual limb.
* Manual locking: A device that locks the knee in complete extension to prevent buckling and falls.
* Pneumatic/hydraulic: This provides controlled changes in the speed of walking.
Kyphoscoliosis: A structural scoliosis associated with increased roundback.
Kyphosis: A posterior convex angulation of the spine as evaluated on a side view of the spine.
KAFO: Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the entire leg.
KO: (Knee orthosis) Encompasses the knee only.
Leg Length Discrepancy: Asymmetrical shortening of one leg due to congenital, traumatic, or functional causes.
Licensed Orthotist (LO): A healthcare professional who is licensed by the State of Illinois to practice orthotics and who represents himself or herself to the public by title or description of services that include the terms “orthotic”, “orthotist”, “brace,” or a similar title or description of services.
Lordoscoliosis: A lateral curvature of the spine associated with increased swayback.
Lordosis: An anterior angulation of the spine in the sagittal plane.
Lumbar Curve: A spinal curvature whose apex is between the first and fourth lumbar vertebrae (also known as lumbar scoliosis).
Lumbosacral: Pertaining to the lumbar and sacral of the back.
Lumbosacral curve: A lateral curvature with its apex at the fifth lumbar vertebra of below (also known as lumbosacral scoliosis).
LSO: Lumbosacral Orthosis; device that encompasses the lower torso.
Muscle contracture: Shortening of the muscles at the affected joint. This can be avoided by exercising and stretching the limb.
Myoelectric prosthesis: This uses electrodes mounted within the socket to receive signals from muscle contractions to control a motor in the terminal device, wrist rotator or elbow.
Neuromuscular scoliosis: A form of scoliosis caused by a neurologic disorder of the central nervous system of muscle.
Nonstructural curve: Description of a spinal curvature or scoliosis that does not have fixed residual deformity.
Nudge control: A mechanical switch that operates one or more joints of the prosthesis.
Occupational Therapist (OT): An individual trained or licensed to plan and implement social and interpersonal activities to develop, restore, and/or maintain the person’s ability to accomplish activities of daily living (eating, dressing, bathing) and necessary occupational tasks.
Orthosis/brace: A plastic or metal device used to straighten and/or support a body part, improve function or aid recovery.
Pedicle: Bony process projecting backward from the body of a vertebra, which connects with the lamina on either side.
Phantom limb pain: A pain that feels like it’s coming from a body part that is no longer there.
Physical Therapist (PT): An individual trained or licensed to provide treatment to help injured people achieve maximum physical restoration through physical agents (heat, light, water, electricity, massage and exercise).
Plagiocephaly: A condition characterized by asymmetrical distortion, or flattening of the skull. The deformity is usually flexible and can be treated with a corrective helmet.
Plastic impression: The plaster cast that is applied to the residual limb in order to obtain an accurate model during the fabrication process.
Posterior fusion: A technique of stabilizing two of more vertebra by bone grafting.
Prehension: To hold, grasp or pinch.
Preparatory (temporary) prosthesis: An artificial limb is designed, fabricated and fitted soon after surgery; this prosthesis is worn as the residual limb is healing.
Primary curve: The first or earliest curve to appear.
Prosthesis: Artificial limb. (Plural: prostheses [prahs thee sees]
Prosthetic Sock: A sock knitted to fit the shape of the residual limb worn inside the socket. The sock reduces the friction between the residual limb and the socket and replaces lost volume in the socket due to shrinking of the residual limb.
Pylon: Pipe-like structure used to connect the prosthetic socket to the foot/ankle components.
Removable Rigid Dressing (RRD): A removable cast applied shortly after the amputation in order to control swelling and protect the residual limb.
Residual limb: Remaining portion of the limb after amputation.
Risser sign: Used to indicate spinal maturity, this refers to the appearance of a crescentic line of bone formation which appears across the top of each side of the pelvis.
RGO: Reciprocating Gait Orthosis; special HKAFO that allows paralyzed persons to walk step over step; generally used with crutches for balance.
Sacrum: The curved triangular bone at the base of the spine, consisting of five fused vertebrae known as sacral vertebrae. The sacrum articulates with the last lumbar vertebra and laterally with the pelvic bones.
Scoliometer: A proprietary name for an inclinometer used in measuring trunk rotation.
Scoliosis: A lateral deviation of the normal vertical line of the spine which, when measured by X-ray, is greater than ten degrees. Scoliosis consists of a lateral curvature of the spine with rotation of the vertebrae within the curve.
Shrinker sock: An elastic wrap or compression sock worn on a residual limb to reduce swelling and shape the limb.
Socket: The portion of the prosthesis that is in contact with the residual limb.
Sound side leg: Non-involved limb.
Spinal instrumentation: A metal implant fixed to the spine to improve spinal deformity while the fusion matures. This includes a wide variety of rods, hooks, wires and screws used in various combinations.
Spondylitis: An inflammatory disease of the spine.
Spondylolisthesis: An anterior displacement of a vertebra on the adjacent lower vertebra.
Stockinette: Tubular open-ended cotton or nylon material.
Structural curve: A segment of the spine that has fixed lateral curvature.
Suction: Provides suspension by means of negative pressure in a socket; achieved by forcing air out of the socket through a one-way valve when donning and using the prosthesis.
Suspension: Refers to how the orthosis/prosthesis is held on; may include suction, a strap or belt, a wedge, a neoprene sleeve or other method.
Switch control: Use of electric switches to control current from a battery to operate an electric elbow, wrist rotator or terminal device.
Syme’s amputation: An amputation performed through the ankle joint.
Terminal devices: Devices attached to the wrist unit of an upper extremity prosthesis that provide some aspect of the function (grasp, release, cosmesis, etc.).
* Adaptive devices: Devices for specialized functions (attachment to tools, sporting equipment, utensils, etc.)
* CAPP: Body-powered device named for the Child Amputee Prosthetics Project at UCLA where it was designed to promote gross motor functioning and early grasp.
* GRIP/ADEPT: Body-powered, voluntary-closing terminal devices that close when tension is applied to the cable.
* Hand/mitt: either a passive or active (terminal) device used to replace the hand.
* Split hooks: Terminal devices with two hook-shaped fingers operated through the action of harness and cable systems.
Thoracic curvature: Any spinal curvature in which the apex of the curve is between the second and eleventh thoracic vertebrae.
Thoracolumbar curve: Any curvature that has its apex at the twelfth thoracic or first lumbar vertebra.
Thoracolumbosacral orthosis (TLSO): A type of brace incorporating the thoracic and lumbar spine.
Trial socket/test socket: A trail socket, often transparent, made to evaluate comfort and fit prior to final prosthesis design.
Vertebral column: The flexible supporting column of vertebrae separated by discs and bound together by ligaments.
Voluntary-closing devices: Terminal devices that are closed by forces on a control cable; grasp is proportional to the amount of pull on the cable.
Voluntary-opening devices: Terminal devices that are opened by body motion and closed by elastic bands or springs.
Wrist unit: Component that allows interchanging or repositioning of terminal devices.
WHO: Wrist-Hand Orthosis; device that encompasses the wrist and hand.