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Glossary of common knee terms


Do you want to know what Osgood-Schlatter's stands for and who Osgood and Schlatter are? If you do go to is a biographical dictionary of medical eponyms. This website aims to present a complete survey of all medical phenomena named for a person, with a biography of that person.

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About this page

This is just a compilation of common, frequently used terms, it is not an exhaustive list of medical or surgical terms. No information found here must under any circumstances be used for medical purposes, diagnostically, therapeutically or otherwise. Please note this page is under constant review; more terms will be added in due course.

If you are interested in a more detailed list of orthopaedic terms, please visit Prof. Chris Colton's website.

Medcyclopaedia™ 2008 is a unique combination of a scientific library and a handy toolbox on the internet. In addition to the complete on-line edition of The Encyclopaedia of Medical Imaging, which comprises more than 18,000 thoroughly explained key words accompanied by more than 10,000 illustrations, this web site holds complete medical imaging text books, GE Healthcare’s Expanded Medical Imaging Glossary, clinical cases for training purposes, as well as content from other highly reputed sources. The site serves as an invaluable source of information for clinicians, radiographers (technicians), pharmacists, nurses, physiotherapists, and other paramedical health care professionals. It is also a useful reference work for medical physicists, hospital managers, medical suppliers and medical publishers.

MediLexicon: Search through Medical Abrevations, Dictionary and Terminology with this useful medical dictionary

Abduction: movement of a limb away from the midline

ACL: anterior cruciate ligament

ACI: autologous chondrocyte implantation (same as ACT)

ACT: autologous chondrocyte transplantation (same as ACI)

Adduction: movement of a limb towards the midline

Allograft: graft of tissue from another individual of the same species, who is genetically different from the recipient.

Anterior: the front aspect of the body in the anatomical position

Artefact (or artifact): lines, spots, blurring etc. of a picture obscuring details and/or showing things that "are not really there". Some artefacts may be caused by movement (just like any picture where someone moves) or by shadow effects, reflections etc.

Artrography: special X-ray or MRI examination of joints. Depending on the size of the joint cavity, a small volume of low concentration contrast medium is injected, after which the images are taken.

Atrophic: degenerate tissue caused by loss of cells

Autologous: own

Avascular: without blood supply

Avulsion: pulling off (usually ligament)

Baker's Cyst: a collection of synovial fluid behind the knee joint

Cartilage: articular cartilage (misnomer for meniscus)

Chondrocyte: cartilage cell

Chondral: articular cartilage

Dislocation: out of joint (patella, more often than the knee itself)

Distal: away from the center of the body

Effusion: swelling

ECM: extra-cellular matrix (the bulk of articular cartilage)

Extensor mechanism: quadriceps tendon, patella and patella tendon

Femur: thighbone

Haemarthrosis: bleeding into the joint

Ischemia: insufficient blood supply

Interference Screw: fixation device (usually resorbable) for ACL graft

Lateral: outer side

Laxity: looseness

LCL: lateral collateral ligament

Matrix: tissue scaffold

MCL: medial collateral ligament

Medial: inner side

Meniscus: semilunar

Microfracture: articular cartilage repair technique

MosaicPlasty: articular cartilage repair technique utilising multiple small autologuous osteochondral plugs

MRI: magnetic resonance imaging

OAT: osteochondral autograft transfer

OATS: Osteochondral Autograft Transfer System

Oedema (or edema): an accumulation of an excessive amount of watery fluid in cells, tissues or cavities

Osteochondral: bone and cartilage

Osteochondritis Dissecans (OCD): separation of cartilage with bone fragment, usually from femoral condyles

Patella: kneecap

Patella Alta: high-riding kneecap

Patella Infera (or Baja): low-riding kneecap

Patellofemoral Joint (PFJ): joint between patella and femoral trochlea

PCL: posterior cruciate ligament

PKR: partial knee replacement

PLC: postero-lateral corner

Posterior: behind

Popliteal fossa: the back part of the knee joint

Proprioception: sense of balance and spatial orientation

PVNS: pigmented villonodular synovitis

Quadriceps muscles: thigh muscles

Retropatellar: behind the kneecap (usually refers to articulating surface)

ROM: range of movement

Seroma: a collection of serous fluid under the suture line

SLR: straight leg raise

Subchondral: under the articulating cartilage

Subluxation: out of place (usually refers to patella)

Synovial fluid: joint fluid

Tendinitis: inflammation of the tendon

Tendinosis: chronic tendinopathy or chronic tendon injury

Trochlea: the joint space at the front end of the femur (articulates with patella)

TKR: total knee replacement

Tibia: shinbone

UKR: unicondylar knee replacement (same as partial knee replacement)

USS: ultrasound scan

Varus: inward angulation of the knee joint

Valgus: outward angulation of the knee joint

VMO: vastus medalis obliqus (the inner lower part of quadriceps muscle)

Site last updated on: 28 March 2014

Disclaimer: This website is a source of information and education resource for health professionals and individuals with knee problems. Neither Chester Knee Clinic nor Vladimir Bobic make any warranties or guarantees that the information contained herein is accurate or complete, and are not responsible for any errors or omissions therein, or for the results obtained from the use of such information. Users of this information are encouraged to confirm the accuracy and applicability thereof with other sources. Not all knee conditions and treatment modalities are described on this website. The opinions and methods of diagnosis and treatment change inevitably and rapidly as new information becomes available, and therefore the information in this website does not necessarily represent the most current thoughts or methods. The content of this website is provided for information only and is not intended to be used for diagnosis or treatment or as a substitute for consultation with your own doctor or a specialist. Email addresses supplied are provided for basic enquiries and should not be used for urgent or emergency requests, treatment of any knee injuries or conditions or to transmit confidential or medical information. If you have sustained a knee injury or have a medical condition, you should promptly seek appropriate medical advice from your local doctor. Any opinions or information, unless otherwise stated, are those of Vladimir Bobic, and in no way claim to represent the views of any other medical professionals or institutions, including Nuffield Health and Spire Hospitals. Chester Knee Clinic will not be liable for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, exemplary, or other damages, loss or injury to persons which may occur by the user's reliance on any statements, information or advice contained in this website. Chester Knee Clinic is not responsible for the content of external websites.

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