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Glossary of Orthotic & Prosthetic Terms

ABC – American Board for Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics, Inc.

Abduction – The act of moving the hip (and residual limb) away from the midline of the body.

Adduction – The act of moving the hip (and residual limb) toward the midline of the body.

Alignment – The relationship of the prosthetic foot to the socket.

Amputation – The of a body extremity by surgery or trauma.

Bulbous – Refers to the residual limb being larger in circumference at the end than at the top.

Check Socket – A socket made of clear plastic used to evaluate the fit of the socket design to the residual limb.

CO (Certified Orthotist) – 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.

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.

Cervical – Pertaining to the neck.

Corset – Lumbar brace made from textile material.

C.Ped – Pedorthist who is certified by the Board for Certified Pedorthist.

Custom Fabricated Orthosis – Orthosis, which is individually made for a specific patient. Created using an impression generally by means of plaster or fiber cast, a digital image using computer-aided design-computer aided manufacture (CAD-CAM) systems software, or direct form to patient.

Definitive Prosthesis – The permanent prosthesis (usually provided after a preparatory/temporary) that is designed to last for several years.

Doffing – Taking the orthosis or prosthesis off.

Donning – Putting the orthosis or prosthesis on.

Dystrophy – Pathologic loss of muscle mass.

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.

Extension – The act of moving the hip (and residual limb) backward or to the rear of the body.

Fabrication – Procedure of mechanically creating a device.

Fitter-Orthotics – Person who is trained and qualified to participate in the fitting and delivery of pre-fabricated orthotic devices and/or soft goods.

Fitter-Mastectomy – Person who is trained and qualified to participate in the fitting and delivery of breast prostheses and mastectomy products and services.

Flexion – The act of moving the hip (and residual limb) forward or to the front of the body.

Functional Level – Degree of function a disabled patient still achieves.

Gait – Walking.

Hemipelvectomy – A high-level pelvic amputation.

Hip Disarticulation – Amputation of the entire leg from the hip.

ISPO – International Society for Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Musculo-skeletal System – System of cooperating muscles and bones in biological creatures.

O&P – Orthotics and prosthetics.

O&P Facility – Place where orthotic or prosthetic patient care is provided.

Orthopaedics – Medical specialty dealing with the locomotor system.

Orthopaedist – Surgeon who corrects congenital or functional abnormalities of the bones with surgery, casting, and bracing.

Orthosis – Custom-fabricated or custom-fitted brace or support designed to align, correct, or prevent neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction, disease, injury, or deformity. Note: this does not include supports or devices carried in stock and sold by drug and other stores, corset shops or surgical supply facilities (e.g., fabric and elastic supports, corsets, arch supports, trusses, elastic hose, canes, crutches, cervical collars, dental appliances).

Orthotics – The science and practice of evaluating, measuring, designing, fabricating, assembling, fitting, adjusting, or servicing an orthosis under a prescription from a licensed physician, chiropractor, or podiatrist to correct or alleviate neuromuscular or musculoskeletal dysfunction, disease, injury, or deformity.

Orthotist – Person who measures, designs, fabricates, fits, or services orthoses as prescribed by a licensed physician, and who assists in the formulation of an orthosis to support or correct disabilities.

Pedorthics – Design, manufacture, fit and/or modification of shoe and foot orthoses to alleviate foot problems caused by disease, congenital condition, overuse or injury.

Pedorthist – Individual trained in the manufacturing, fitting and modification of foot appliances and footwear for the purposes of alleviating painful or debilitating conditions and providing assistance for abnormalities or limited actions of the lower limb.

Physical Therapist (PT) – A trained professional who performs and teaches exercises and other physical activities to aid in rehabilitation and maximize physical ability with less pain. PTs teach the amputee exercise techniques, gait training and ways to navigate physical barriers with a prosthesis.

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).

Prefabricated Orthosis – Orthosis, which is manufactured in quantity without a specific patient in mind, which may be trimmed, bent, molded, or otherwise modified for use by a specific patient (i.e., custom fitted). A preformed orthosis is considered prefabricated even if it requires the attachment of straps and/or the addition of a lining and/or other finishing work or is assembled from prefabricated components is considered prefabricated. Any orthosis that does not meet the definition of a custom fabricated orthosis is considered prefabricated. Also referred to as custom-fitted.

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.

Prosthetic Sock – A sock knitted to fit the shape of the residual limb worn inside the socket. The sock reduces the friction between the residual limb and the socket and replaces lost volume in the socket due to shrinking of the residual limb.

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.

RFO (Registered Fitter-Orthotics) – Fitter who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for orthotic fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

RFM (Registered Fitter-Mastectomy) – Fitter who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for mastectomy fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

RFOM (Registered Fitter-Orthotics Mastectomy) – Fitter who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for both orthotic and mastectomy fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

RTO (Registered Orthotic Technician) – Technician who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for both orthotic and mastectomy fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

RTP (Registered Prosthetic Technician) – Technician who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for both orthotic and mastectomy fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

RTPO (Registered Prosthetic-Orthotic Technician) – Technician who has passed the American Board of Certification in Orthotics & Prosthetics standards for both orthotic and mastectomy fitting and completes mandatory continuing education requirements and adheres to the Canons of Ethical Conduct.

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

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.

Socket – The portion of the prosthesis that is in contact with the residual limb.

Soft Orthosis – Orthotic device made from fabric or elastic components (e.g., pressure gradient hose, corset, cervical collars, trusses).

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.

More Orthotic and Prosthetic terms and definitions.

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