What Does That Mean? Common Orthopaedic Terms Explained

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While visiting an orthopaedic surgeon, you’re bound to come into the appointment with a variety of questions about your body and why you’re experiencing pain. The surgeon will explain what’s happening, but doctors and staff can sometimes forget to explain what certain medical terms mean. Patients can therefore sometimes misunderstand a doctor’s phrasing or not be sure what a term may or may not mean for them specifically. To help break down this barrier, we’ve compiled a list of terms patients are likely to mix up during and after appointments with their orthopaedic surgeon to help clarify what your doctor is talking about.

  • Sprain vs. Strain. These common orthopaedic terms can often be mixed up and your orthopaedic surgeon may forget to explain the difference. A sprain is the overstretching of ligaments, with the ankle being one of the more common sprains our bodies can experience. A strain occurs when the actual muscle or tendon is torn or stretched past its limits. Strains commonly occur in in hamstring muscles. Both are different, but can be confused because treatments for each are similar and involve rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
  • Fracture vs. Break. While physicians can use these words interchangeably and unintentionally make it seem like they’re different conditions, fractures and breaks are actually the same thing. According to VeryWell.com, a fracture is any loss of continuity of the bone and can also be referred to as a break. The next time you hear one term or the other, remember that they’re the same thing!
  • Dislocation vs. Diastasis. These words aren’t necessarily mixed up, but can confuse some patients who aren’t familiar with them. But, they do relate to our bones, muscles and joints, as well as how they connect. A dislocation is a complete displacement of a particular joint, while diastasis is the dislocation or separation of attached muscle tissues or bones without a joint connecting them. Diastasis can involve connected bones such as the fibula and tibia in the leg, as well as muscle tissue such as diastasis recti.

These are just some examples of terms you may hear during an appointment. Should you hear additional terms that you would like to learn more about during a visit, just ask! No matter what your questions or concerns are, your orthopaedic surgeon will be happy to further explain what’s going on with your body. The team at Advanced Surgical Hospital can help you out with your health questions and concerns, and they’re available to clarify what certain terms mean and how they relate to your orthopaedic needs. For more information on Advanced Surgical Hospital and our services, contact us today.