The glossary is intended to help the reader understand the articles or phrases in this website. The definitions are rather general, and no attempt was made to give complex anatomical explanations.

A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M -
N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z


  • Abbreviations for types of amputations:

    • AE - Above-Elbow

    • AK - Above-Knee

    • BE - Below-Elbow

    • BK - Below-Knee

    • HC - Hemi-Corprectomy

    • HD - Hip-Disarticulation

    • HP - Hemi-Pelvectomy

    • KD - Knee-Disarticulation

    • SD - Shoulder-Disarticulation

    • TK - Through Knee

    • WD - Wrist-Disarticulation

  • Acquired amputation - Limbs that were surgically removed due to disease or trauma.

  • Adaptive devices - Devices for specific functions (can be attachment to tools, sporting equipment, utensils, etc.) (bought or custom made)

  • ADL's - Aids to Daily Living

  • AE - Above-Elbow

  • AFO's - Ankle-Foot Orthoses - braces (Short Leg Brace)

  • AK - Above-Knee

  • Alignment - A triplanar positioning of the prosthetic socket in relation to foot and knee.

  • Ambulation - walking, human gait

  • Amelia, Phocomelia - A medical term for congenital absence of a limb or partial absence of limbs.

  • Amputation - The loss or absence of all or part of a limb.

  • Assistive/adaptive equipment - Devices that assist in function, performance, daily living or mobility,specially designed devices.

  • Ataxia - a form of CP, inability to perform coordinated muscular movements

  • Atrophy - diminishing of size and strength of muscles that are no longer used, as a result of nonuse, amputation, or paralysis.

  • Axillary crutch - Type of crutch that fits up under the armpit of the user. Sometimes called the "underarm" crutch.


  • BE - Below-Elbow

  • Biceps - muscle on upper arm that bends the elbow

  • Bilateral amputee - refers to an amputee that has lost either two upper or lower limbs or part of.

  • Biomechanics - the study of the body ambulating, without deformities

  • BK - Below-Knee


  • CAPP Cookie Cruncher - Can be body-powered or a manual device named for the Child Amputee Prosthetics Project at UCLA, it's purpose was designed to promote gross motor functioning and early grasp.

  • Canadian crutch - Type of crutch that has metal or plastic sleeves that wrap around the forearm of the user. Also called "forearm" crutch.

  • Cavus Foot - foot with a very high arch

  • Check socket/test socket - A trial socket, usually transparent, made to evaluate fit and comfort of a prosthesis or orthosis prior to final design.

  • CMT - Hypertrophic - peripheral nerve fibers are thickened, myelin sheath breaks down.

  • CMT - Neuronal - the axon or central part of the nerve cell deteriorates

  • Congenital - from birth

  • Congenital amputee - refers to a defect from birth, "the baby was born without a hand."

  • Congenital deficiency - A condition present at birth, when all or part of a limb fails to develop normally.

  • Control cable - Stainless Steel cable used to move and to operate a body-powered prostheses. Can also lock and unlock mechanical joints

  • Cosmesis - appearance

  • Cosmetic cover - Can be a foam or rubber material, a hard laminate, sprayed or rolled on protective skin, or prosthetic nylon stocking that gives a prosthetic device a more natural appearance.

  • CVA - Cerebral Vascular Accident, Stroke


  • Deformity - abnormal alignment

  • Definitive - The finished prosthesis

  • Disarticulation - amputation through a joint, leaving bone ends intact.

  • Dorsiflexion - to flex the foot upward


  • Edema - swelling of a body part

  • Endoskeletal - like the human body, the rigid support is internal

  • Energy-storing feet - Prosthetic feet that adds life to the step, a material is usually deflected upon weight bearing and the foot springs back designed to help move the prosthesis forward with less energy

  • Exoskeletal - the rigid support structure is on the outside

  • Extremity - limb


  • Femur - the bone in the thigh region

  • Fibula - small support bone next to the tibia in the lower leg

  • Flexion - to bend a joint

  • Forequarter - amputation of shoulder girdle


  • Gait - ambulating, walking


  • Hand/mitt - Either passive or active (terminal) device used to replace the hand.

  • Hard socket - A prosthetic socket made of rigid materials.

  • HC - Hemi-Corprectomy

  • HD - Hip-Disarticulation

  • Hemi-corporectomy - Amputation of both hips, and lower spine, usually the lumbar spine.

  • Hemi-pelvectomy - one half of the pelvis including the extremity on that side (usually for cancer).  

  • HKAFO - Hip-Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses the joints described

  • HP - Hemi-Pelvectomy

  • Hypotonia - loss of muscle tone, and consequently muscles may be stretched beyond their normal limits.


  • Idiopathic - Latin word for "I don't know," unknown cause

  • Immediate post-surgical fitting (IPSF) - Application of a protective cast/rigid dressing immediately after surgery

  • Initial prosthesis - First one




  • KAFO - Knee-Ankle-Foot Orthosis; device that encompasses all the joints described which would include the entire leg.

  • KD - Knee-Disarticulation

  • Krukenburg Procedure - Surgical splitting of the lower forearm longitudinally into two parts to improve function by providing a sensate wedge grip. They are more common in Europe, and used for long bilateral transtibial amputees that are blind.


  • Ligaments - tissue that connects bone to bone

  • LSO - LumboSacral Orthosis; device that encompasses the lumbosacral region. It can be soft or hard or combination of both.

  • Lumbar spine - five vertebra in the lower back


  • Manual locking Knee - Device that automatically locks the knee when brought in complete extension to prevent buckling and falls.

  • Muscular atrophy - wasting of the muscles due to diseased or injured nerves

  • Muscular Dystrophy - wasting of the muscle due to a defect in the muscle itself

  • Myelin sheath - fatty outer covering the surrounds the nerve

  • Myodesis Procedure - performed during an amputation, by sewing the opposing bundles of cut muscle tissue to small holes drilled into the end of the bone of the residual limb. Adds to performance of the muscles since it is a more secure attachment for the muscles to act on and also helps to prevent future atrophy.

  • Myoelectric prosthesis - Is a electrically controlled prosthesis that uses electrodes mounted within the socket to receive electrical signals from the muscle contraction to control a motor in the terminal device, wrist rotator or elbow, there are different types.

  • Myoplasty Procedure - performed during an amputation, by connecting the opposing bundles of cut muscle tissue together. It adds good protection to the end of the cut bone and to prevent future atrophy.


  • Neuromas - ball or network of exposed nerve underlying the skin

  • Nudge control - A prosthetic mechanical switch control that operates one or more joints of the prosthesis.


  • Occupational therapy/OT - Evaluation and training to maximize independence and function in daily living, specializing in upper extremity

  • Orthotics - The profession of Orthopedic Appliances, braces

  • Orthosis/brace - An Orthopedic appliance or device used to prevent deformities,contractures, straighten, protect and/or support a body part. May also improve function, or aid recovery.

  • Orthoses - the plural of orthosis

  • Orthotist - Practitioner of Orthotics, ABC certified preferred, A patient-care practitioner who evaluates, designs, fabricates and fits orthoses (braces) and other devices to straighten or support the body and/or the limbs.


  • Palsy - a condition marked by loss of power to feel or to control movement in the effected part of the body

  • Pathomechanics - is biomechanics gone bad, with deformity

  • Peroneal muscle - located on the outside of the leg below the knee to the ankle. These muscles assist to raise the foot during walking.

  • Pes Planus - foot with little or no arch, collapse of arch

  • Phocomelia - refers to a missing segment or under developed, "the baby was born with out a femur." - usually presents itself as very small, deformed versions of normal limbs.

  • Physical therapy/PT - The rehab specialist, evaluation and treatment of disease, injury or disability through the use of therapeutic exercises and modalities to strengthen muscles, improve range of motion and decrease pain.

  • Plantarflexion - to extend or point the foot downward

  • Pneumatic/hydraulic - Air filled units provides controlled changes in the speed of walking.

  • Polycentric - Multiple-axis joint.

  • Post-Op Rigid dressing - A protective cast applied in surgery or very soon after amputation to control swelling and pain; used to promote shrinkage and shaping of the residual limb in preparation for a prosthetic fitting.

  • Prehension - To hold, grasp or pinch.

  • Preparatory prosthesis - A short-term prosthesis, usually 2-6 months, generally without cosmetic finishing, which is provided in the early phase of fitting to expedite prosthetic wear and use; it also aids in the evaluation of amputee adjustment and component selection.

  • Prosthetics - The profession of Artificial Limbs

  • Prosthesis - An artificial replacement for a body part.

  • Prostheses - plural of prosthesis

  • Prosthetist - Practitioner of Prosthetics, ABC Certified preferred, - A patient-care practitioner who evaluates, designs, fabricates and fits artificial limbs.


  • Quadriplegia - partial or complete paralysis of all four extremities


  • Range of Motion - (ROM) limits of a joint

  • Residual Limb - The portion of limb remaining after amputation, sometimes referred to as a stump.

  • RGO - Reciprocating Gait Orthosis; special HKAFO that mechanically allows paralyzed persons to walk step over step; generally used with crutches or sometimes a walker for balance.

  • Rigid dressing - See Post-Op Rigid dressing


  • SACH Foot - "Solid Ankle, Cushion Heel" prosthetic foot

  • SD - Shoulder-Disarticulation

  • Silesian belt or bondage - suspension belt used in lower extremity prosthetics

  • Single Axis - A prosthetic knee that rotates around a single pivot.

  • Socket - Portion of prosthesis that the residual limb/stump fits into and to which prosthetic components are attached.

  • Soft Inner liner - can be made of closed cell foam, silicone, gel, leather, other materials for cushioning the residual limb.  They are used between the socket and the residual limb.

  • Soft socket - Inner socket liner of foam, rubber, leather, other material for cushioning the residual limb.

  • Split hooks - A type of terminal device with two hook-shaped fingers operated through the action of harness and cable systems.  Many different varieties designed for different functions.

  • Stance Control - A braking or locking mechanism within a prosthetic knee unit to add stability and to prevent buckling of the knee when weight is transferred onto the prosthesis.

  • Stockinette - tubular open-ended cotton or nylon material that comes in different sizes. It is used for casting, interface, and fabrication processes.

  • Stump/residual limb - The portion of limb remaining after amputation.

  • Stump shrinker - A compression sock worn on a residual limb to reduce swelling and shape the limb.  An elastic wrap (Ace) when wrapped properly makes the best shrinker.

  • Stump sock - Wool, cotton, or blended materials used as a sock worn over residual limb to provide a cushion between the skin and socket interface.  They come in different sizes, shapes and thicknesses called plies.

  • Suction - A system that provides suspension by means of negative pressure or a vacuum in a socket. This is achieved by forcing air out of the socket through a one-way valve when donning and using the prosthesis.

  • Suspension - Usually refers to how the prosthesis is held on and sometimes the orthosis; which may include suction, a strap or belt, a wedge, a silicone or neoprene sleeve or other method.

  • Suspension Sleeve - type of prosthetic suspension, to hold on a prosthesis, made of different materials

  • Switch control - A manual use of electric switches to control and operate an electric elbow, wrist rotator or terminal device (hand). 

  • Symes - Type of amputation at the level of the ankle.  It is a type of ankle disarticulation where the maleoli are reduced to make a less bulbous distal end. Most often done on a two stage operation.


  • Tendon - tissue which connects muscles to bones

  • Terminal devices - Hand, hook, or special attachment to be attached to the wrist unit of an upper extremity prosthesis. Many different varieties are designed for different functions. (grasp, release, cosmesis, etc.)

  • TK - Through Knee

  • TLSO - ThoracoLumbar-Sacral Orthosis, any orthotic device that encompasses the entire torso.  A body jacket is considered a TLSO.




  • Voluntary-closing devices - A type of terminal device that when relaxed is in the open position and is closed on an object by a conscious effort by pulling on the control cable.

  • Voluntary-opening devices - A type of terminal device that is opened by a conscious effort by pulling on the control cable with body motion and closed by elastic bands.


  • WD - Wrist-Disarticulation

  • WHO - Wrist-Hand Orthosis is a device that encompasses the wrist and hand.  They can be static or dynamic devices.

  • Wrist unit - Attaches terminal devices onto the prosthesis. There are different types used in upper extremity prosthetics. Some allows quick interchanging or repositioning of terminal device.







About Company

DynamicBracingSolutions™ is The National Network of Clinicians dedicated to a 21st Century approach to HOLISTIC bracing for neuromuscular disorders.

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"The challenge, was it worth it? Yes! Definitely worth it. There are times that I can sort of march, that I was never able to do before. I can go longer distances when I walk my dog and I don't feel like my knee is going to buckle." -- M.E. MD

"The challenge was worth every bit, I mean, it just gets you all excited about (it) and you want to go do it again. That's what life's about, it's challenges and pushing yourself to another goal." -- E.W. All American Over Sixty TriAthlete

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