Sports Medicine, like Spine Medicine, has a vocabulary that is unique, and few health care workers outside of the field speak this language fluently. Below are sports medicine terms that often times are confused by clinicians and patients alike.
Arthritis – Joint inflammation
Arthrosis – Joint degeneration
Atrophy – Muscle wasting, loss of muscle mass
Avulsion fracture – Injury to tendinous insertion site where a small piece of bone is fractured in continuity with the tendon, rather than rupture at the tendon-bone interface.
Bone bruise – Microfractures seen on MRI.
Bursitis – Inflammation of a bursa
Chondromalacia – Softening or damage to the articular cartilage of the patella—diagnosis made under direct visualization at the time of surgery. This term is often used to describe similar lesions in other bones.
Chondrosis – Chondral (cartilage) degeneration
Dislocation – Complete loss of apposition of articulating bones that normally comprise a joint.
Instability – Functional term referring to joint laxity that is not controlled by stabilizing muscles—may be unidirectional or multidirectional and is symptomatic.
Laxity – Degree of looseness, usually referring to a ligament. Occurs in persons with generalized ligamentous laxity (so-called “double jointed”).
Sprain – Injury to a ligament owing to excessive stress
Grade I: Minor tearing without increase in translation of affected joint (no laxity on stress testing but painful)
Grade II: Partial tear with mild-moderate increased translation
Grade III: Complete tear with marked increase in translation
Strain – Injury to a muscle or tendon owing to excessive stress
1st Degree: Minimal damage to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit
2nd Degree: Partial tear to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit
3rd Degree: Complete disruption to the muscle, tendon, or musculotendinous unit
Subluxation – Partial dislocation of a joint
Tendonitis (tendinitis) – Inflammation of a tendon
Tendonopathy (tendinopathy) – Diseased tendon
Tendonosis (tendinosis) – Tendon degeneration (usually focal)
Tenosynovitis – Tendon sheath inflammation
Tensile strength – Maximum stress that a structure can sustain before failure