Injury Terms Defined
Although we do our best to use simple words in our injury reports, there are times when we are forced to use complex medical terminology especially when we quote NFL physicians, athletic trainers, coaches and players. So to help you we've compiled a list of and explained the most frequently used medical terms in our injury reports.

Abrasion: Is a skin wound where the external layers have been scraped off or rubbed away.

Acute: Refers to an injury or condition that recently occurred.

Anaphylactic Shock: Is shock caused by an allergic reaction, which left untreated could become life-threatening.

Anterior: Anatomically refers to the front.

Avascular Necrosis: Is the death of tissue due to an insufficient blood supply.

Bursitis: Is the inflammation of a bursa, which is a fluid-filled fibrous sac found between tendons and bones that acts to decrease friction during motion.

CAT (Computerized Axial Tomography) Scan: Or CT Scan is a procedure that combines many x-ray images with the aid of a computer to generate cross-sectional views and, if needed three-dimensional images of the internal organs and structures of the body.

Chronic: Refers to an injury or condition that continues or occurs for a long period of time.

Compartment Syndrome: Is when circulation and tissue function within a closed space (such as in a leg or arm) is compromised by increased pressure brought on by uncontrolled swelling. Loss of function could become permanent if not treated immediately.

Compression: Is when an external force such as an elastic wrap or bandage is applied to the body to help control and decrease swelling and inflammation.

Concussion: Is defined as the violent shaking of the brain that results in immediate or transient impairment of neurological function. Concussions are graded (mild, moderate and severe) by the length of mental impairment and loss of memory before and after the injury and symptoms include alterations of consciousness, disturbance of vision and loss of balance. Any athlete losing consciousness as a result of a hit or collision during a game has suffered, at the very least, a moderate concussion and will be removed from further activity immediately. Severe concussions and the reoccurrence of minor and moderate concussions can lead to the persistence of symptoms, permanent damage and even death. All individuals diagnosed with a concussion are at risk of suffering from Postconcussion Syndrome.

Contusion: Is when a sudden traumatic blow to the body results in a bruise to the involved tissue. Superficial contusions are common and easily treated but contusions to deep muscle tissue and bone can be extremely painful, limit range of motion, reduce muscle strength and take a long time to heal.

Cortisone: Is a strong anti-inflammatory that is used to control and reduce inflammation, and in turn usually results in the reduction of pain. Cortisone injections are used to treat inflammation in small areas and can provide months of relief. Repeated use of localized cortisone injections can lead to the weakening of tendons and the degeneration of cartilage and bone near the area.

Cryotherapy: Is a treatment or therapy using cold.

Diagnosis: Is the identification of a specific injury or condition.

Dislocation: Is the complete displacement of joint surfaces.

Edema: Is swelling as a result of the collection or pooling of fluid in connective tissue.

Electromyogram (EMG): Is a test used to determine nerve function.

Hip Pointer: Is a contusion to the iliac crest in the hip. The iliac crest lacks adequate soft tissue padding so a direct blow to the area can result in immediate loss of function of the associated leg and tremendous amounts of pain.

Hyperextension: Is the extreme stretching of a body part. More specifically, it refers to a body part moving further in extension than the determined normal range of motion.

Hypermobile: Describes a joint that has an excessive amount of motion.

Hypomobile: Describes motion in a joint that is abnormally limited.

Interferential Stimulation: Is a modality used to control pain, reduce swelling and inflammation, and promote blood flow in the injured area of an athlete.

Lateral: Anatomically refers to the outside.

LisFranc Injury: Is injury or damage done to the ligament at the tarsometatarsal or LisFranc joint in the foot (the joint created between the midfoot and forefoot). Injuries to the Lisfranc joint can be minor but in general athletes diagnosed with a LisFranc injury have suffered either a dislocation or fracture and dislocation of the joint.

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging): Is a procedure that uses magnetism and radio waves to produce images of body structures. Physicians use MRI's over CT Scans because they generally provide clearer images.

Medial: Anatomically refers to the inside.

Modality: A therapeutic agent, method or device used by medical professionals such as athletic trainers to aid in the treatment and rehabilitation of injuries.

Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation: Is a modality used during rehabilitation to aid in muscle reeducation and muscle strengthening.

Plantar Faciitis: Is the chronic inflammation of the plantar fascia, which is a dense band of connective tissue that runs along the bottom of the foot.

Postconcussion Syndrome: Is when an athlete complains of a wide range of neurological problems after suffering a concussion. These problems can include persistent headaches, impaired memory, lack of concentration, fatigue, anxiety, blurred vision and depression and can begin immediately or within several days following the initial trauma. Symptoms may last for weeks or even months and athletes suffering from Postconcussion Syndrome will not be allowed to return to play until all the symptoms of this condition have been resolved.

Posterior: Anatomically refers to the back.

Prognosis: Is the prediction as to the probable result of a specific injury or condition.

Rotator Cuff: Is a group of four muscles that are responsible for rotating the humerus and help stabilize the Glenohumeral joint in the shoulder. The four muscles (also referred to as the SITS muscles) include the Supraspinatus, Infraspinatus, Teres minor and Subscapularis.

Shoulder Dislocation: Is when the head of the humerus slides out of the Glenohumeral joint resulting in muscle, cartilage and ligament damage.

Shoulder Separation: Also known as an Acromioclavicular (AC) joint sprain. This is when the ligament at the joint that consists of the acromion process of the scapula (shoulder blade) and the end of the clavical (collarbone) is damaged.

Sprain: Is the stretching or tearing of ligament. Does not describe damage or injury to muscle, tendon or bone.

Strain: Is the stretching or tearing of a muscle or tendon. Does not describe damage or injury to ligament or bone.

Subluxation: Is the partial displacement of joint surfaces.

Tendinitis: Is the chronic inflammation of tendon or tendon-muscle attachments.

TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation): Is a modality used to manage acute and chronic musculoskeletal pain.

Thermotherapy: Is a treatment or therapy using heat.

Turf Toe: Is the hyperextension of a joint in the big toe either from a single trauma (acute) or from repetitive overuse (chronic) that results in a sprain. This injury can drastically affect mobility and requires lots of rest to recover from.

Ultrasound (therapeutic use): Is a modality used to increase the rate of tissue repair, increase blood flow, decrease pain and swelling, reduce muscle spasm and breakdown calcium deposits.

Information from the Principles Of Athletic Training, Arehein, D., Prentice, W. and Sports Injury Management, Anderson, M., Hall, S. were used in this article.

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