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Popular Medical Terminology Defined:

  • Ankylosing Spondylitis: a long-term disease that causes inflammation of the joints between the spinal bones, and the joints between the spine and pelvis.
  • Bursitis: inflammation of the fluid-filled sac (bursa) that lies between a tendon and skin, or between a tendon and bone. The condition may be acute or chronic.
  • Carpal Tunnel: pressure on the median nerve -- the nerve in the wrist that supplies feeling and movement to parts of the hand.
  • Claw Toes: Claw toes result from a muscle imbalance which causes the ligaments and tendons to tighten and bend the toes. This results in the joints curling downwards. Arthritis and nerve damage from diabetes can weaken the muscles in your feet and lead to claw toes. Claw toe get worse without treatment and may become a permanent deformity over time.
  • CMC (Basal) Joint Arthritis: Named for the bones that make up the base joint of the thumb - the trapezium, one of the small Carpal bones of the wrist, and the Metacarpal or long bone of the thumb - the carpometacarpal (CMC) joint is the most common site for arthritis in the hand. In the most common form of arthritis, Osteoarthritis (OA) or Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD), the cartilage that covers and protects the joints, wears out. Without the protective cartilage, the bones in the joint grind against one another wearing the joint down and causing pain and instability. 
  • Constipation: a condition in which there is hard feces that are difficult to expel. This usually happens because the colon has absorbed too much water from the food due to the lack of water-holding capacity of the bowels' contents.
  • Crohn's Disease: a form of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It usually affects the intestines, but may occur anywhere from the mouth to the end of the rectum (anus).
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorder: CTD is a collective term for syndromes characterized by discomfort, impairment and loss of muscle strength and function. CTD may be related to a specific activity which causes pressure on or irritation of a nerve, tendon or muscle. CTD, especially Carpal Tunnel Syndrome may be of unknown origin with no specific activity causing the symptoms. Holding static postures for long periods of time while performing an activity may cause stress on muscles which then press on nerves and inflame tissues. Mechanical stress, vibration and cold may also contribute to the onset of CTD. It is difficult to know what leads one person to develop a CTD when another person performing the same task has no symptoms. It is therefore difficult to predict what activities may affect someone before the symptoms appear. 
  • De Quervain's Syndrome: DeQuervain’s Tenosynovitis (D-quare-vanes T-no-sigh-no-vie-tis) is an inflammation of the synovial tissue that covers the tendons that straighten and pull the thumb away from the hand (“hitchhiker” position). The tendons involved are the ones along the thumb side of the wrist that are prominent when the thumb is extended away from the hand. The indentation formed between these two tendons is known as the Thenar Snuffbox. Inflammation of the tendons or of the tissue that surrounds them, causes swelling and restricts the tendons' ability to glide back and forth to move the thumb. 
  • Diabetes: The inability of the body to produce, or the inability to metabolize, the human hormone insulin.
  • Dupuytren's Contracture: a fixed flexion contracture of the hand where the fingers bend towards the palm and cannot be fully extended (straightened). 
  • Edema: Swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, but it can involve your entire body.
  • Fibromyalgia: a common condition characterized by long-term, body-wide pain and tender points in joints, muscles, tendons, and other soft tissues.
  • Golfer's Elbow: an inflammatory condition of the elbow which in some ways is similar to tennis elbow.
  • Hammer Toes:  Hammer toes are toes that rest in a bent position at the middle joint and are hyperextended (curling upwards) at the end. Tight ligaments and tendons cause the joints of the toes to curl downwards. Hammer toe may result from shoes that don’t fit properly or from a muscle imbalance. Muscles work in pairs to straighten and bend the toes and when there is an imbalance of the forces on the toes, the muscles tighten and cannot stretch out.
  • Hemorrhoids: painful, swollen veins in the lower portion of the rectum or anus.
  • Hypertension: the term used to describe high blood pressure. 
  • Hypoxemia: Decreased partial pressure of oxygen excludes decreased oxygen content caused by anemia (decreased content of oxygen binding protein hemoglobin) or other primary hemoglobin deficiency, because they don't decrease the partial pressure of oxygen in blood.
  • Menstrual Cramps:  pains in the abdominal (belly) and pelvic areas that are experienced by a woman as a result of her menstrual period. 
  • Metatarsalgia:  Painful foot condition in the metatarsal region of the foot (the area just before the toes, more commonly referred to as the ball-of-the-foot). This is a common foot disorder that can affect the bones and joints at the ball-of-the-foot. Metatarsalgia (ball-of-foot-pain) is often located under the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th metatarsal heads, or more isolated at the first metatarsal head (near the big toe).
  • Migraine: a neurological syndrome characterized by altered bodily perceptions, severe headaches, and nausea.
  • Muscle Spasm: A muscle spasm or cramp is an involuntary contraction of a muscle. Muscle spasms occur suddenly, usually resolve quickly, and are often painful. 
  • Nebulizer: A device used to administer medication to people in the form of a mist inhaled into the lungs.
  • Neuroma: A neuroma is a painful condition, also referred to as a “pinched nerve” or a nerve tumor. It is a benign growth of nerve tissue frequently found between the third and fourth toes. It brings on pain, a burning sensation, tingling, or numbness between the toes and in the ball of the foot 
  • Orthopedic: The branch of medicine that deals with the prevention or correction of injuries or disorders of the skeletal system and associated muscles, joints, and ligaments.
  • Osteoarthritis: a type of arthritis that is caused by the breakdown and eventual loss of the cartilage of one or more joints.
  • Overlapping Toes: Toes that deviate and cross on top of or under an adjacent toe are called overlapping toes. Constrictive shoes with narrow toe boxes (the front portion of the shoe) squeeze the toes together so they eventually begin to overlap. Bunions, a deviation of the big toe, can cause pressure on adjacent toes causing them to overlap. In those with high arches who put more weight on the outside of their feet, especially children, the fifth toe will tend to overlap the fourth toe. 
  • Plantar Fasciitis: Inflammation of a thick band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which runs across the bottom of your foot — connecting your heel bone to your toes.
  • Podiatry: A branch of health care devoted to the study, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the foot, ankle and lower leg.
  • Pronation:  A rotational movement of the forearm (at the radioulnar joint) or foot (at the subtalar and talocalcaneonavicular joints). Pronation of the foot refers to how the body distributes weight as it cycles through the gait. Types of pronation include neutral pronation, underpronation (supination), and overpronation.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. 
  • Rollator: A variant of the walker. It is a walking frame with wheels. Typically more sophisticated than conventional walkers with wheels. Adjustable in height and are equipped with a seat and sometimes with a basket; with the use of modern materials, they are light-weight yet sturdier.
  • Sciatica: refers to pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in the leg. It is caused by injury to or compression of the sciatic nerve.
  • Sprain or Strain: A strain is an inflammation of the tendons that connect muscles to the bones and is typically caused by overuse or repetitive use. If left untreated the strained tendons can start to pull away from the muscle with slight tearing progressing to tendinitis. The strained muscle area should be rested and allowed to heal. A sprain is an overstretching or tearing of a ligament or group of ligaments. Ligaments attach bone to each other and also attach organs to other structures. Sprains are graded as minor, moderate or severe and treatment varies with the severity. 
  • Supination: Position of either the forearm or foot; in the forearm when the palm faces anteriorly, or faces up (when the arms are unbent and at the sides). Supination in the foot occurs when a person appears "bow-legged" with their weight supported primarily on the anterior of their feet.
  • Tendonitis: inflammation or irritation of a tendon. Tendons can become irritated quickly, as in acute tendonitis.
  • Tennis elbow: ian inflammation, soreness, or pain on the outside (lateral) side of the upper arm near the elbow.
  • Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD or TMD), or TMJ syndrome: an umbrella term covering acute or chronic inflammation of the temporomandibular joint, which connects the mandible to the skull.
  • Varicose Veins: swollen, twisted, and sometimes painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of blood.
  • Whiplash: a neck injury that can occur during rear-end automobile collisions, when your head suddenly moves backward and then forward — similar to the motion of someone cracking a whip. These extreme motions push your neck muscles and ligaments beyond their normal range of motion.

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