Patient Education

Patient Education

Glossary of Terms

Achilles tendon

Achilles tendon is the flexible band of fibrous tissue that connects the lower leg to the calf muscle.


(Anterior Cruciate Ligament) is one of the four main ligaments in the knee and most frequently injured.

Acute pain

Acute pain is pain that arises quickly, is severe, but lasts a short time.


Arthritis is the inflammation of a joint that can cause pain, stiffness, and swelling. (See Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis below.)

Bone Density Test

A bone density test is a special form of low-level x-ray used to identify early stages of bone thinning, or osteoporosis. A bone density test measures how many grams of calcium and other bone minerals are in a section of bone. The most common technique used is a DEXA scan.


A bunion is the abnormal enlargement of the joint that connects the big toe to the foot (metatarsophalangeal joint) and causes an outward protusion from the side of the foot at the joint. Bunions are usually caused by shoes that improperly fit.


Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa, a pouch of synovial tissue formed where there is friction between a tendon and bone or skin and bone. There are hundreds of bursas in the human body.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the median nerve in the wrist is pinched and does not work properly. Numbness, tingling, and pain occurs.


Cartilage provides a smooth surface for the gliding of joints.

Chronic pain

Chronic pain is pain that progresses slowly over a long period of time.

Conservative Management

Conservative management is the use of non-surgical treatments that reduce the need for surgery and provde symptom relief. This can cortisone shots, hyaluronic acid supplementation (Synvisc or Hyalgon), bracing, and physical therapy to decrease the need for surgery.

Cortisone Injections

Cortisone is naturally produced in the human body and released into the blood stream as an anti-inflammatory. Synthetic cortisone is injected into a specific inflammation. Cortisone itself is not a pain reliever. Pain is reduced due to the treatment of the inflammation.


A DEXA (Dual Energy X-Ray Ahsorptometry) scan measures bone mineral density which helps diagnose osteoporosis prior to the occurrence of fractures.


Dislocation occurs when the regular alignment of a joint is separated.


EMG (Electromyogrphay) measures the electrical movement of muscles. Results from an EMG show nerve and muscle function.


Epicondylitis, also known as Tennis elbow, occurs when there are small tears in the tendon that connect the forearm muscle to the arm bone at the elbow joint. Pain occurs on the outside of the elbow.


A fellowship is an additional year of specialized training for a physician in a particular area of orthopedic focus.


A fracture is a broken bone, when the normal structure of the bone has been disrupted.

Frozen Shoulder

Frozen Shoulder, or Adhesive Capsultis, is caused when the capsule surrounding the shoulder joint contracts, forming scar tissue. This limits movement in the shoulder.

General Anesthesia

General anesthesia is a state of unconsciousness, amnesia, and analgesia caused by a general anesthesia drug. During this time the brain does not respond to pain or form memories.

Golf Elbow

Golf elbow, or medial epicondylitis, occurs when there are small tears in the tendon that connect the forearm muscle to the arm bone at the elbow joint. Pain occurs on the inside of the elbow.

Hammer Toes

Hammer toes occur when the second, third, or fourth toe point at an angle upward. If a hammer toe goes untreated, it becomes fixed and may require surgery.

Hip Resurfacing

Hip resurfacing preserves more of the patientís natural bone, compared to total hip replacement. This allows for greater range in motion, and can decrease the chance of dislocation.

Internal Fixation

Internal fixation is when the part of the body that is operated on is placed back into its normal anatomical position and held in place by an inserted device.

Interscalene Block

An interscalene block is a post operative pain relief usually used after surgery of the shoulder or upper arm. An interscalene block is administered through an injection and numbs the nerves. The use of an interscalene block can lead to the use of less oral pain medication.

Medial Epicondylitis

Medial epicondylitis, or Golf elbow, occurs when there are small tears in the tendon that connect the forearm muscle to the arm bone at the elbow joint. Pain occurs on the inside of the elbow.


Minimally-invasive surgery, also referred to as laparoscopic surgery, is less invasive than open surgery and causes less trauma to the body. Surgeons monitor their work through an endoscope and use laparoscopic devices and remote-controlled instruments.


Modalities are used by Physical Therapists to decrease pain, inflammation, and treat muscle strain. They include the use of hot packs, cold packs, ultra sounds, TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) and electrical stimulation.


A MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) is an imaging technique that uses magnetic ìsignalsî to create slices of the human body showing differences between types of tissues. This creates an image of inside the body.


Orthopaedic comes from the Greek work ëorthoí which means straight and ípedicsí meaning ëpaisí the Greek word for children. Originally, orthopedists cared for children with spine problems and musculoskeletal deformities.


Orthotics are foot or heel inserts used to correct certain foot and ankle conditions.


Osteoarthritis, often called “wear-and-tear” arthritis,is one of the most common forms of arthritis. The disease causes a breakdown of the cartilage that cushions the joint. As the cartilage breaks down, the result is bone-against-bone friction, leading to pain, eventual loss of movement, and the gradual weakening of unused muscles.


Osteoporosis is the decrease of density of normal bone. If left untreated, bones become fragile and are more likely to break.


Osteotomy is the restructuring of the bone to shift stress from diseased tissue to more healthy tissue.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis occurs when the joint lining swells, takes up surrounding tissue space, and produces chemicals that destroy the joint surface.


Rheumatology is a subspecialty of medicine dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of diseases that affect muscles, ligaments, tendons, tendonitis, joints, bones, and other body parts including the immune system.

Rotator Cuff

The rotator cuff is the four muscles and tendons that cover the front, back, and top of the upper arm bone (humerous). The rotator cuff allows the arm to rotate.

Rotator Cuff Tear

A rotator cuff tear occurs when there is an injury to one of the tendons in the rotator cuff.


A sprain is when direct or indirect trauma displaces a joint and overstretches a ligament.


A strain is an injury that stretches or tears a muscle or tendon.


Synovectomy is the surgical removal of inflamed synovial tissue.


A tendon is fibrous tissue that connects muscle to bone.


Tendonitis, or inflammation of the tendon, occurs when the smooth motion of the tendon is impaired. The tendon becomes damaged and movement is painful. Most often, tendonitis is caused by overuse.

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or epicondylitis, occurs when there are small tears in the tendon that connect the forearm muscle to the arm bone at the elbow joint. Pain occurs on the outside of the elbow.