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Glossary of Orthopedic Terms

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury

A tear or sprain of the anterior cruciate ligament (one of the strong bands of tissue that connects your thigh bone to your shinbone). ACL injuries usually occur during sports that involve sudden stops or changes in direction, jumping and landing.


Inflammation of one or more of the body's joints that causes pain and stiffness.


An x-ray to view bone structures following an injection of a contrast fluid into a joint area. When the fluid leaks into an area that it does not belong, disease or injury may be considered, as a leak would provide evidence of a tear, opening or blockage


A minimally-invasive procedure for diagnosing and treating joint problems. A surgeon inserts a narrow tube attached to a fiber-optic video camera (arthroscope) through a small incision. The view inside your joint is projected onto a high-definition screen.


Small jelly-like sacs located throughout the body, including around the shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, and heel. They contain a small amount of fluid, and are positioned between bones and soft tissues, acting as cushions to help reduce friction.


Repeated small stresses and overuse that cause the bursa to swell and become irritated 


a smooth material that covers bone ends of a joint to cushion the bone and allow the joint to move easily without pain 


Occurs when extreme force is put on a ligament causing the two bone ends to separate. Dislocations can also affect a joint, the point where two or more bones come together


A break or crack in a bone, typically caused by trauma or repetitive stress.


A normal part of the body's response to injury or infection. It occurs when the body releases chemicals that trigger an immune response to fight off infection or heal damaged tissue


Where the ends of two or more bones meet 


A ring of cartilage that lines the rim of the shoulder socket (glenoid), providing stability and supporting the shoulder joint.


White, flexible bands of fibrous tissue that binds joints together and connects various bones and cartilage 


A C-shaped cartilage structure located in the knee joint, acting as a shock absorber between the thigh bone (femur) and shinbone (tibia).


A condition that develops when bone is no longer replaced as quickly as it is removed


A degenerative joint disease characterized by the gradual breakdown of cartilage, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility

Overuse Conditions

Injuries due to minor trauma involving soft-tissue injuries - injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons 


The kneecap, a small bone located in front of the knee joint.

Rotator cuff

A group of muscles and tendons that surround the shoulder joint, providing stability and enabling shoulder movement.

Soft tissues

the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the musculoskeletal system 


A partial or complete tear of a ligament 


a partial or complete tear of a muscle or tendon

Stress Fracture

A bone injury caused by overuse 


An inflammation in a tendon or the tendon covering 


The extent to which a person is able to bear or support their body weight on a specific body part, typically on the lower extremities (legs)