Glossary of Prosthetic Orthotic Terminology

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

AFO: Ankle foot orthosis.

BOC: Board for Certification/Accreditation in Orthotics & Prosthetics.

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.  (Also referred to as a diagnostic socket).

Conical: Refers to the residual limb being smaller at the bottom.

Cylindrical: Refers to the entire residual limb being essentially the same shape/size overall.

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. Lumbar refers to the lower back region.

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

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.

Custom Fit 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.

Definitive Prosthesis: The definitive prosthesis uses materials and components that are designed for longer duration of the device and in additional consideration of  the patient’s lifestyle and health condition(s).

Direct Form Socket: A method of pressure casting that involves shaping-chambers positioned over soft tissue areas which can be inflated independently to achieve displacement of the tissue creating a more anatomically correct socket shape. The increased control over the socket shape enhances user comfort, stability and rotation control. As the residual limb is "loaded" by the pressure casting instrument during casting, it is possible to eliminate the need for modification of the resultant socket shape.

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.

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

Flexion: The act of moving a body part from straight to bent position.

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

Gait: How you walk.

KO: Knee orthosis.

KAFO: Knee, ankle, foot orthosis.

Musculo-Skeletal System: System of cooperating muscles and bones.

O&P: Orthotics and prosthetics.

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

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, 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.

O&P Certified Assistant: A support professional that has completed education and training in either orthotics or prosthetics or both. A Certified Assistant must have one year of clinical experience under the supervision of an ABC certified practitioner for certification in one discipline and 18 months of clinical experience for dual (O&P) certification.

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 for the fabrication process.

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. This may also be your first prosthesis.

Prosthesis: In terms of what RHS provides, a prosthesis is an 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.  Determining and crafting together the best possible combinations of components for each patient’s lifestyle and health is a primary function of a Certified Prosthetist.

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.

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.

RTO/RTP (Registered Orthotic Technician/Registered Prosthetic Technician): An ABC Certified Technician is an individual trained and qualified to assist an ABC credentialed individual by providing technical support. The certified technician fabricates, repairs and maintains orthoses and/or prostheses; and is also proficient in current fabricating techniques, familiar with material properties and skilled in the use of appropriate equipment. Mandatory continuing education is required for technicians. ABC Certified Technicians may not use their credentials as independent providers of patient care.

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.

Scanning: A non contact form of measuring the residual limb using a laser scanning device. The scan captures the shape and detail of the limb for use in modeling the socket or orthosis through the use of computer-aided design technology.

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 portion of the back.

TLSO/LSO: A Thoracolumbosacral or lumbosacral orthosis (TLSO/LSO) is designed to restrict the movement of the torso.  It is used to treat a variety of conditions, from compression fractures to laminectomies, and is usually prescribed both for use after surgery and to attempt to heal a fracture to prevent the need for surgery.  A TLSO is taller than an LSO in order to treat higher level fractures, surgical repairs, etc.