The Hip Bone’s Connected to the Leg Bone – a Glossary of Orthopaedic Surgery Terms
The world of an orthopaedic surgeon is full of words that can scare and confuse patients. Here is a list of the terms you might hear when talking with your doctor, and what they mean.
Anterior –To the front.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) – The anterior cruciate ligament is the ligament that stops a knee from moving too far forward. This is the most “famous” ligament due to the risk of trauma through sports injuries. It works with the posterior cruciate ligament to stop “lateral translation” – a knee buckling forwards or backwards. South Australian cases include Port Adelaide’s Robbie Gray in 2012 and Adelaide Crows rebounding defender Brodie Smith just last year.
Arthritis – a chronic (long-term or permanent) condition that occurs when cartilage is damaged. This results in inflammation and can require surgery in some cases. Often managed through medication.
Arthroscopic surgery – a minimally-invasive method of surgery which is conducted by making a small cut in a patient, inserting a camera, and using that to conduct the surgery. Also known as “keyhole surgery”.
Cartilage – cartilage is the soft material inside of a joint that allows two bones to move past each other without grinding. Cartilage does not repair itself over time and can’t always be repaired surgically. Damaged cartilage can cause a patient lot of pain.
Chondral grafting – A new process by which can repair cartilage in some circumstances. A sample of cartilage is taken from a patient, and the sample is regrown in a lab. The orthopaedic surgeon will then place the graft in the knee of the patient.
Joint Dislocation – An injury when the end of one bone “pops out” of the socket of another bone. This can cause significant pain.
Lateral – To the side.
Ligament – A ligament is a tough, stretchy rope that connects two bones together. The primary purpose is to make sure that your bones move properly, and that your joints only move in the way they’re meant to move. For example, the anterior cruciate ligament restricts the knee from moving too far forward, and the two lateral ligaments stop the knee from moving from side to side.
Ligament Reconstruction – Ligament reconstruction is a surgery that takes place when a ligament has been severed. Each ligament reconstruction process is different.
Meniscus – the name given to the cartilage in the knee.
Musculoskeletal – Relating to the ways that bones and muscles interact. Generally, electrical signals from the brain cause muscles to contract. Those muscles are connected to bones, and when they contract they pull the bone one way. Because muscles can only contract (and, therefore, only pull one way) muscles work in pairs.
Orthopaedic – Relating to the musculoskeletal system – where the muscles and bones meet. This usually takes place at the joints.
Physical Therapy – An umbrella term that relates to various physical, nonsurgical methods of treating orthopaedic symptoms. Examples of physical therapies include stretching and muscular conditioning.
Posterior – To the back (backwards).
Posterior Cruciate Ligament– The posterior cruciate ligament is the ligament that stops a knee from buckling backwards. It works with the anterior cruciate ligament to stop “lateral translation” – a knee buckling forwards or backwards.
Tendon– a tendon is a tough, elastic rope that connects your muscles to your bones.