Glossary of common knee terms
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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.
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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
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
ECM: extra-cellular matrix (the bulk of articular cartilage)
Extensor mechanism: quadriceps tendon, patella and patella tendon
Haemarthrosis: bleeding into the joint
Ischemia: insufficient blood supply
Interference Screw: fixation device (usually resorbable) for ACL graft
Lateral: outer side
LCL: lateral collateral ligament
Matrix: tissue scaffold
MCL: medial collateral ligament
Medial: inner side
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 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
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
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: 01 March 2013
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