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Orthotic Care Glossary


Lower Extremity
FO = Foot Orthosis
AFO = Ankle Foot Orthosis
PLS AFO = Posterior Leaf Spring AFO
CROW = Charcot Restraint Orthotic Walker
PTB AFO = Patella Tendon Bearing AFO
KO = Knee Orthosis
KAFO = Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis
HKAFO = Hip Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis
HO = Hip Orthosis

LSO = Lumbar Sacral Orthosis
TLSO = Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis
CTO = Cervical Thoracic Orthosis
CO = Cervical Orthosis

Upper Extremity
WO = Wrist Orthosis
WHO = Wrist Hand Orthosis
EO = Elbow Orthosis
HO = Humeral Orthosis
SEWHO = Shoulder Elbow Wrist Hand Orthosis

Achilles tendon - the tendonous extension of three muscles in the lower leg: gastrocnemius, soleus, and plantaris. In humans, the tendon passes behind the ankle. It is the thickest and strongest tendon in the body.

Achilles tendonitis - inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

Accredited facility - a facility that has completed a certification of competency or credibility by a recognized accreditation board, such as The American Board for Certification in Orthotics, Prosthetics and Pedorthics (ABC). Since 1948, ABC has been accrediting orthotic, prosthetic, pedorthic and mastectomy facilities. ABC accredited facilities must comply with a specific set of requirements and adhere to stringent patient care standards.

Ankle instability - instability as a result of loose ligaments, acute or chronic ankle injuries including sprains and or strains.

ADL's - Activities of Daily Living are the most basic activities and functions performed on a daily basis that are usually done without assistance.

Bunion - a thickening of the fist metatarsal joint of the great toe. This is usually associated with enlargement and lateral displacement of the toe. Heredity, degenerative bone or joint diseases such as arthritis may cause bunions; however ill fitting shoes are the primary cause of this condition.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - characterized by pain, numbness or tingling in the wrist, carpal tunnel syndrome is typically associated with repetitive motions of the hand. The repetitive motion causes swelling and compression of the median nerve and tendons that pass through a tunnel of fibers at the base of the hand.

Cavus foot deformities - characterized by an abnormally high longitudinal arch or concavity of the sole of the foot. This condition causes excessive pressure on the heel and the forefoot. An orthosis can often help to redistribute pressure and help prevent skin breakdown and abrasions.

Charcot joint disease - the progressive degeneration of a weight bearing joint, a process marked by bony destruction and eventual deformity, usually a result of Diabetes.

Charcot Marie Tooth or Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease (CMT) - a nerve conduction causing weakness and mild loss of sensation in the limbs. Patients often have rigid cavus deformities of the foot and ankle.

Cerebral Palsy (CP) - a term used to describe a group of disorders that affect movement control. CP can be caused by injury to the brain before, during or after birth. Cerebral palsy may be acquired after birth as a result of an accident, head injury or infection such as bacterial meningitis or viral encephalitis. Symptoms vary with each case.

Cervical - pertaining to the neck.

Club foot - refers to a foot that points downward; the toes turn inward and the bottom of the foot faces inward. If this condition occurs when a baby is born it is called congenital clubfoot. If left untreated the condition can worsen causing the patient to walk on the top of their foot. Serial casting, corrective surgical procedures and an orthosis are often used to treat this condition.

Corset - a lumbar back brace made from textile materials.

Custom fabricated orthosis - an orthosis which is individually made for a specific patient. This can be created using an impression generally of plaster or fiber cast, a digital image using computer-aided design-computer aided manufacture (CAD-CAM) systems software or a direct form of the patient.

Durable Medical Equipment - Assistive devices such as crutches, wheelchairs, canes, etc. that help a patient with their rehabilitative needs.

Dystrophy - loss of muscle mass.

Flat foot - the abnormal flatness of the sole and the arch of the foot.

Fracture orthosis - an orthotic device that immobilizes a fractured bone allowing the bones to heal together in proper alignment.

Halo - a cervical orthosis used as the initial treatment for maximum immobilization of the cervical spine.

Hammer toes - an excessive hyperextension of one or more toes, often called claw toes. This condition is frequently seen in rheumatoid diseases.

Lumbar - referring to the five lumbar vertebrae which are situated below the thoracic vertebrae and above the sacral vertebrae in the spinal column.

Metatarsalgia - a condition characterized by pain emanating from the metatarsal heads (the balls of the feet) that increases with weight bearing and pressure. Higher heel shoes that place the majority of ones weight on the forefoot and metatarsals often worsen this condition.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) - an auto immune disease of the central nervous system which causes destruction of the outer sheath of the nerve cells and nerve axons within several regions of the brain and spinal cord at different times. It is a variably progressive disease most commonly affecting young adults.

Muscular Dystrophy (MD) - a group of genetically transmitted diseases characterized by progressive atrophy of different muscle groups, loss of strength and increasing disability and deformity.

Musculoskeletal system - the system of cooperating muscles and bones.

O&P - Orthotics and Prosthetics

Occupational Therapist - an individual who uses productive or creative activities to treat or rehabilitate physically or emotionally disabled people.

Peroneal Palsy - a condition caused by injury or damage to the peroneal nerve. Patients often experience drop foot or weakened dorsiflexors.

Physical Therapist - an individual who helps patients improve their ability to accomplish everyday tasks or activities of daily living associated with a maximum level of safe independence.

Plantar Fasciitis - a condition that causes inflammation of the fibrous connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot from the heel to the ball of the foot. This commonly occurs in athletes and is caused by a strain or over stretching of this connective tissue. This causes pain, inflammation and often a bone spur at the attachment site on the heel.

Prefabricated orthosis - a device manufactured in quantity without a specific patient in mind. The device requires some assembly, fitting or adjustment or other modification to fit a specific patient.

Range of motion - important to the mobilization of affected areas after the initial healing process has begun. This helps to prevent contractures, maintain muscle strength and helps to promote bone growth.

Rehabilitation - process of restoring a person who has been debilitated by a disease or injury to a functional life.

Rehabilitation team - a group of allied healthcare professionals that frequently include a physician, surgeon, orthotist/prosthetist, physical and occupational therapist, social worker and counselor who serve the needs of a patient.

Sacral - referring to the sacrum, the five vertebral bones situated between the lumbar vertebrae and the coccyx or tailbone (the lowest segment of the vertebral column).

Scoliosis - an abnormal bending of the spine. It is often thought of as a lateral bending, however, there can be rotational, flexion and extension abnormalities. Many times scoliosis is associated with juveniles however, if left untreated adult and geriatric patients can have severe secondary complications such as spinal nerve root compression, pain and pulmonary complications

Soft orthosis - an orthotic device made from fabric or elastic components (e.g., pressure gradient hose, corset, cervical collars and trusses).

Spastic Hemiplegia - increased muscular tone occurring in half of the body. It results from an upper motor neuron lesion, such as a stroke, central nervous system trauma or tumor.

Sprain - trauma to a ligament that causes pain and at times disability depending upon the severity of the injury.

Stenosis - a narrowing of the intervertebral opening from which the spinal nerves exit. This occurs due to degenerative changes that cause a bony overgrowth in the canals. Symptoms resulting from nerve impingement include back pain and radiating pain down both legs.

Strain - trauma to a muscle and or tendon by way of a violent contraction or excessive forcible stretch.

Tennis elbow (Epicondylitis) - is usually indicated by increased pain over the elbow. It is often a result of small tears in the extensor tendons that attach at the elbow.

Thoracic - pertaining to the chest.