General information on various aspects of prosthetics. For detailed information read our Prosthetic Guides.
25 Anatomy Terms
Axillary: the armpit
Femoral: the thigh
Gluteal: the buttocks
Inguinal: the depressed area of the abdominal wall near the thigh (groin)
Lumbar: the region of the lower back between the ribs and the pelvis
Plantar: the sole of the foot
Popliteal: the area behind the knee
Sacral: the posterior region between the hip bones
Dermatology: study of the skin and its diseases
Orthopedics: branch of medicine dealing with the muscular and skeletal systems and their problems
Pediatrics: branch of medicine dealing with children and their diseases
Podiatry: study of the care and treatment of feet
Abduction: movement away from axis of trunk, as in raising arms to the side horizontally or leg sideward
Adduction: movement toward axis of trunk, as in lowering arms to the side or leg back to anatomical position
Flexion: bending; bringing bones together, as in the elbow joint when the hand is drawn to the shoulder. Bending of the knee in lower extremity.
Extension: straightening; moving bones apart, as when hand moves away from shoulder.
Plantar flexion: movement of sole downward toward the floor
Anterior (ventral): toward or at the front of the body; in front of
Posterior (dorsal): toward or at the back of the body; behind
Medial: toward or at the midline of the body; on the inner side of
Lateral: away from the midline of the body; on the outer side of
Proximal: closer to the origin of the body part or the point of attachment of a limb to the body trunk
Distal: farther from the origin of a body part or the point of attachment of a limb to the body trunk
Superficial: toward or at the body surface
Deep: away from the body surface; more internal
List of Prosthetic Jargon
Alignment: The relationship of the prosthetic foot to the socket. Initially examined while standing and then while in use.
Atrophy: Muscle wasting away from disuse.
Bulbous: Refers to the residual limb being larger in circumference along the bottom than at the top.
Check Socket: A socket made of clear plastic used to evaluate the prosthetic fit.
CP (Certified Prosthetist): Prosthetist who has passed the certification standards of The American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics, and maintains certification through mandatory continuing education program and adherence to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.
CPO (Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist): Prosthetist/Orthotist who has passed the certification standards of The American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics, and maintains certification through mandatory continuing education program and adherence to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.
Definitive Prosthesis: The permanent prosthesis (usually provided after a preparatory/temporary) that is designed to last for several years.
Doffing: Taking your prosthesis off.
Donning: Putting on your prosthesis.
Edema: Swelling of the tissue.
Endoskeletal Design: A construction technique that uses a pipe or pylon as the support structure. This design allows for the exchange of components and adjustment. An endoskeletal system can be covered with a cosmetic foam that is shaped to match the sound side limb.
Exoskeletal Design: A construction technique that uses wood or hard foam as the support structure. This prosthesis is identified by its hard external finish.
Fabrication: Procedure of mechanically creating a device.
Functional Level: Degree of function used by insurance carriers to medically justify prosthetic components.
Hemipelvectomy: A high-level pelvic amputation.
Hip Disarticulation: Amputation of the entire leg from the hip.
O&P Facility: Place where orthotic or prosthetic patient care is provided.
Plaster Impression: The plaster cast that is applied to the residual limb in order to obtain an accurate model during the fabrication process.
Practitioner: Allied health professional who is specifically educated and clinically trained to manage the provision of comprehensive orthotic and prosthetic care (commonly used term to refer to orthotists and prosthetists).
Preparatory (Temporary) Prosthesis: An artificial limb that is designed, fabricated and fitted soon after surgery; the prosthesis is worn as the residual limb is healing.
Prosthesis: Artificial medical device that is not surgically implanted which is used to replace a missing limb or appendage such as artificial limbs, hands, fingers, feet or toes. Note: this does not include devices, which do not have an impact on the musculoskeletal functions of the body (e.g., artificial eyes or appliances for the eyes, dental plates, and largely cosmetic devices such as wigs, artificial breasts, eyelashes, ears and noses).
Prosthetics: Science and practice of evaluating, measuring, designing, fabricating, assembling, fitting, adjusting, or servicing prosthesis under an order from a licensed physician.
Prosthetic Components: The parts that make up the artificial limb. For example, foot, ankle, socket, pylon, etc.
Prosthetist: Person who measures, designs, fabricates, fits, or services prosthesis as prescribed by a licensed physician, and who assists in the formulation of the prosthesis prescription for the replacement of external parts of the human body lost due to amputation or congenital deformities or absences.
Pylon: Pipe-like structure used to connect the prosthetic socket to the foot/ankle components.
Residual Limb: Remaining portion of the limb after amputation.
Residual Limb Maturation: The process an amputee's limb undergoes to stabilize in volume and shape
Rehabilitation Team: Group of allied health care professionals that frequently includes physician, surgeon, orthotist/prosthetists, physical and occupational therapist, social worker and counselor who serve the needs of a patient.
Prosthetic Socket: The portion of the prosthesis that is in contact with the residual limb.
Sound side leg: Non-amputated limb.
Syme’s amputation: An amputation performed at the ankle joint
Technician-Orthotic/Prosthetic: Person trained to fabricate, repair and maintain orthoses or prostheses under the supervision of an orthotist/prosthetist.
Thoracic: Related to the trunk/rib cage.
Transfemoral: A type of amputation that occurs above the knee.
Transhumeral: A type of amputation that occurs above the elbow.
Transradial: A type of amputation that occurs at the forearm.
Transtibial: A type of amputation that occurs below the knee.