Common Medical Terms related to Personal Injury

A few years ago, I was involved in putting together some Common Medical Terms related to Personal Injury for a company which specialised in legal claims. The company is no longer trading, so I decided to put the glossary of terms here for you to use. Feel free to duplicate it on your own website but please provide a credit (with a link back).

 

Accelerated Injury

An injury brought forward by a number of months/years a symptom which would have developed in the absence of the injury

 

Acute

A condition which starts and ends quickly. A long- lasting condition is termed chronic.

 

Analgesic

A painkiller

 

Anti-Inflammatory

A pain killer which as reduces inflammation

 

Arthrodesis

The fusion of a joint

 

Asbestos

Asbestos is a group of minerals with long, thin fibrous crystals. It is recognised that exposure to asbestos can have carcinogenic effects to the human body, especially the lungs.

 

Asymptomatic

Free of symptoms

 

Bursa

Natural hollows in fibrous tissues lined by smooth cells and containing fluid. Situated at points where there is a pressure or friction. They try to allow fee movement without straining tissue.

 

Bursitis

Inflammation of bursa ( e.g. housemaid’s knee)

 

Carpal/metacarpal

Relating to the hand, the bones of the hand

 

Cervical

Relating to the neck part of the spine

 

Closed head injury (CHI)

The result of rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head during which the brain bounces off the inside of the skull

 

Colles’ Fracture

Fracture across the lower end of the radius (in the wrist)

 

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT)

CBT is a short-term psychological treatment. CBT helps to change the way you think, feel and behave. CBT is particularly suitable for specific problems such as phobias, panic attacks, eating disorders and depression.

 

Contusion

A bruise

 

Disc

The cushion of cartilage between two vertebrae.

 

Dislocation

The displacement of a bone at a joint.

 

Dorsal

Relating to the back.

 

Exacerbated

A pre-existing symptom made worse by the injury.

 

Extension

The straightening of a limb/joint.

 

Femur

The thigh bone

 

Fibula

The smaller of the two bones in the lower leg

 

Flexion

The bending of a joint.

 

Fracture

A break, normally of a bone.

 

Golfer’s elbow

Inflammation of the medial epicondyle of the tendon at the elbow. ‘Tennis elbow’ is inflammation of the lateral epicondyle.

 

Haematoma

A localised collection of blood, a bruise.

 

Humerus

The bone in the upper arm

 

Illness Behaviour

The development of symptoms resulting from unconscious exaggeration by the patient. This is thought by most doctors to be far more common than deliberate malingering; also known as functional overlay. Psychosomatic pain or compensation neurosis. The last is used for a condition that is expected to resolve after the conclusion of a claim.

 

Inflammation

A response to injury denoted by the suffix ‘itis’. The cardinal signs are redness, heat, swelling and pain.

 

Kirschner wire

A wire or rod passed through bone and used to apply traction.

 

Kuntscher nail

A strong steel nail that is inserted into the hollow canal of the femur or tibia to maintain position after fracture.

 

Kyphosis

Hump in the vertebrae. In mild form can cause neck to lean forward and hunch.

 

Laceration

A cut.

 

Ligamentous

Relating to a ligament which is band of fibrous tissue connecting bones or cartilages.

 

Lumbar

Relating to the lower back.

 

Malingering

The deliberate pretending of symptoms or exaggerating them for advantage.

 

Malunion

The failure of bones properly align after fracture resulting in deformity.

 

Manipulation

The procedure whereby a joint is moved to reduce or eliminate stiffness.

 

Mensicus

Semi–lunar cartilage as in wrist or knee joints.

 

MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)

A detailed form of imaging without using radiation which can detect detailed soft tissue changes.

 

Neuralgia

Pain felt in sensory nerve which can be as a result of injury to the nerve.

 

Osteoarthritis

Disease involving joint cartilage.

 

Osteoporosis

Loss of bony tissue causing bones to become brittle and liable to fracture.

 

Patella

The knee cap.

 

Phalanx/phalanges

A finger bone/bones.

 

Prolapse

The falling down or sinking of (a disc).

 

PTSD

Post traumatic stress disorder – specific mental disorders following an accident or trauma

 

Pleural plaques

Localised areas of scar tissue attaching to the outer wall of the lung and are totally benign.

 

Radius

One of the two bones in the lower arm

 

Rehabilitation

The process of restoration of skills by a person who has had an illness or injury so as to regain maximum self-sufficiency and function in a normal or as near normal manner as possible. For example, rehabilitation after a stroke may help the patient walk again and speak clearly again.

 

Rotation

The movement of the neck when turning the head left and right.

 

Soft tissue

Parts of the body other than bones – usually muscles, ligaments etc.

 

Spondylosis

A degenerative condition of the spine.

 

Sprains and strains

A collective term for muscle and ligament injuries.

 

Subluxation

A partial dislocation

 

Tarsal/metatarsal

Relating to the foot, bones of the foot.

 

Thoracic

Relating to the chest area as in thoracic spine.

 

Tibia

The larger of the two bones in the lower leg.

 

Trauma

Injury.

 

Ulcer

Breach on surface of skin or membrane.

 

Ulna

One of the two bones in the lower arm.

 

Vagus nerve

The nerve that supplies nerve fibers to the throat, larynx (voice box), trachea (windpipe), lungs, heart, esophagus, and the intestinal tract as far as the transverse portion of the colon. The vagus nerve also brings sensory information back to the brain from the ear, tongue, pharynx, and larynx.

Vertebra

One of the 23 bones of the spine.

 

Whiplash

A soft tissue injury to the cervical spine (neck).

 

YAG laser surgery

The use of a YAG (yttrium-aluminum-garnet) laser to carry out eye surgery.

 

Zygomatic bone

Part of the temporal bone of the skull that forms the the cheek. The zygomatic bone is also known as the ‘zygomatic arch’.

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