This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. I'm fine with this Cookie information
Follow is on Twitter Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram

*UPDATED* Hospital visiting changes, home testing kits, Vaccine info, general info and guidance for public, NHSGGC staff, and community-based services.


Acquired amputation:  limbs surgically removed due to disease or trauma.

Adherent scar tissue:  Tissue stuck down, usually to bone.

AE:  Above elbow.  Also referred to as transhumeral.

AK:  Above knee.  Also referred to as transfemoral.

Alignment:  position of prosthetic socket in relation to foot and knee.

Amputation:  the loss or absence of all or part of a limb. Anti-tipping Lever – part at the back of the wheelchair to help stop the chair from falling or tipping backwards.

Attendant Control:  wheelchair pushed or controlled by the person standing behind chair.

Back Canvas:  material between the push handles/backposts behind the wheelchair user’s back.

Bariatrics:  the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

Bariatric Wheelchair:  wheelchair capable of generally carrying more than 25 stone user.

BE:  Below elbow.  Also referred to as transradial.

Bilateral:  A double amputee.  Both legs or both arms as in Bilateral BK etc.

Bioengineer:  a clinician who uses engineering skills during assessments to meet patient’s needs.

BK:  Below knee.  Also referred to as transtibial.

Castor:  small wheel at the front of the wheelchair.

Check or test socket:  A temporary socket, often transparent, made over the plaster model to aid in obtaining a proper fit.  A successful test socket will then be remade into the definitive socket.

Charger:  box connected to the electricity supply that puts power into the wheelchair batteries.

Charging Point:  where the charger connects to the wheelchair to charge it.

Clinical Scientist:  see Bioengineer.

Congenital amputee:  Individual born missing a limb(s).  Technically, these individuals are not Amputees, but are considered to be "Limb Deficient.”

Congenital anomaly:  A birth abnormality such as a missing limb (amelia) or deformed limb (phocomelia).

Congenital defiency:  condition present at birth, when all or part of a limb fails to develop normally.

Contoured Seat:  a cushion made for an individuals shape, often because of complex physical needs to maintain suitable posture and pressure requirements.

Control cable (Bowden Cable):  A cable system taken from the aircraft industry to control the operation of a prosthetic arm. Can also be used for lower extremity prostheses and orthotic systems as well.

Cosmesis:  The outer, aesthetic covering of a prosthesis, usually made of foam or a rubber like material.  Foam cosmeses are almost always covered by a cosmetic stocking.

Definitive, or "permanent" prosthesis:  A replacement for a missing limb or part of a limb which meets accepted check-out standards for comfort, fit, alignment, function, appearance, and durability.

Disarticulation:  An amputation through a joint: the hip, shoulder, knee, ankle, elbow, or wrist.

Donning and doffing:  The act of putting on and taking off a prosthesis.

Dorsiflexion:  Pointing the toe/foot upward, toward the body.

EEC:  Energy Efficient Chair

Endoskeletal prosthesis:  One built more like a human skeleton with support and components on the inside and a cosmetic cover on the outside.

Energy storing foot:  A prosthetic foot design that stores energy when weight is applied to it and releases energy when the amputee transfers weight to the other foot.

EPAC:  Electrically Powered Attendant Controlled

EPIC:  Electrically Powered Indoor Chair

EPIOC:  Electrically Powered Indoor and Outdoor Chair

Eversion:  To turn outward.

Exoskeletal prosthesis:  A prosthesis that is hollow on the inside with a hard outer surface to bear weight.

Extension assist:  A method of assisting the prosthesis to "kick forward" on the swing through phase to help speed up the walking cycle.  Used primarily for older patients, high AK amputations and those with limited strength in the residual limb.

Footplate – part of the wheelchair that you put your feet on.

Forequarter Amputation:  Interscapulthoracic amputation.

Gait Training:  The method of learning to walk properly using a lower limb prosthetic device.

Hanger:  part of the wheelchair that holds the footplate in place.

Hard socket:  a prosthetic socket made of rigid materials.

HD:  Hip disarticulation.  Amputation which removes the leg at the hip joint, leaving the pelvis intact.

Heel Loops:  part of the wheelchair footplate that sits behind your heel to help hold your foot in position on the foot plate.

Heel strike:  the moment when the heel makes contact with the floor at the end of the swing through phase.

HP Hemi-pelvectomy (HP):  an amputation where approximately half of the pelvis is removed.

Ischial containment socket:  (SEE ischial tuberosity):  The Ischial Containment socket cups the Ischial bone on the inside and back as well as the bottom to accomplish two things: 1) By cupping, or containing this bone inside the socket, the socket tends not to shift laterally (outside) when weight is put on it, making walking more efficient. This style of socket can have a very intimate fit and may take some time to get used to in order for it to become comfortable.

Ischial tuberosity:  The bone that protrudes from the back of the pelvis that may get sore when sitting on a hard surface for extended periods of time.Joystick – small stick on powered wheelchair controller that you move to make the chair move.

KD:  Knee disarticulation.  Amputation through the knee joint.

Kerb Climber:  part on the powered wheelchair that lifts the front of the wheelchair up onto a kerb. Usually 4 inch kerb.

Knee components:  devices designed to create a safe, smooth walking pattern.

Lateral:  To the side, away from the mid-line of the body.

Liners:  Used for suspension, comfort and protection of the residual limb.  Includes rigid, silicone and neoprene. Manual Wheelchair – wheelchair moved by wheelchair user or attendant.

Manual locking:  device that locks the knee in complete extension to prevent buckling and falls.

Medial:  Toward the mid-line of the body.

Modular prosthesis:  An artificial limb assembled from components, or modules usually of the endoskeletal type where the supporting member, or pylon, is covered with a cosmetic covering (See “Cosmesis”) shaped and finished to resemble the natural limb.

Motor Lever Lock:  part of the wheelchair that allows either the powered wheelchair to free wheel or be powered by motors.multiaxis foot:  Allows inversion and eversion and rotation of the foot and is effective for walking on uneven surfaces.

Myoelectrics:  Literally muscle electronics.  Myoelectric prosthesis were first developed in Russia. This is a technology used in upper-extremity prosthetics.  The prosthesis contains electrodes which are used to control the prosthesis via muscle contractions which in turn control a motor in the terminal device, wrist rotator or elbow .  An attached battery pack provides the power system which translates the muscle contractions into movements of the prosthesis.

Myodesis:  muscles anchored to end of bone.

Myoplasty:  muscles anchored to opposing muscles.

Neuroma:  The end of a nerve left after amputation, which continues to grow in a cauliflower shape.  Neuromas can be troublesome, especially when they are in places where they are subject to pressure from the prosthesis socket.

Occupational Therapist:  promotes health by enabling people to perform meaningful and purposeful occupations. "Occupation" might be defined as the active process of living and includes (but is not limited to) work, leisure, self care, domestic and community activities.

Oedema:  swelling of the tissues.

Partial foot amputation:  An amputation on the front part of the foot; also called “Chopart Amputation”.

Physiotherapist:  a member of the health profession that assesses and provides treatment to individuals to develop, maintain and restore maximum movement and function throughout life. This includes providing treatment in circumstances where movement and function are threatened by aging, injury, disease or environmental factors.

Pistoning:  the term used when your liner stretches resulting in your residiual limb pulling in and out - like a piston.

Plantarflexed/plantar flexion:  Means the toe is pointing down, toward the sole.  Almost like pushing the accelerator pedal down and simulating that position or alignment.

Pneumatic/hydraulic:  provides controlled changes in the speed of walking.

Polycentric:  multiple-axis joint, particularly useful with a very long residual limb.

Postural Management:  the ways in which a person’s posture is managed. 

Powered Wheelchair:  a wheelchair that is moved with electric motors.

Prehension:  to hold, grasp or pinch.

Pressure:  the amount of weight on an area.

Pressure - High:  a high weight on a small area.

Pressure - Low:  a low weight on a large area.

Pressure Management:  methods to reduce problems caused by pressure issues, such as time sat, diet and weight.

Prosthesis:  An artificial part of the body.

Prosthetics:  The profession of providing cosmetic and/or functional restoration of missing human parts.

Prosthetist:  A person involved in the science and art of prosthetics; one who designs and fits artificial limbs.

Posterior:  The back side of the body.
Push Rim – part of the wheelchair wheel used by user to move the rear wheels yourself.

Quad socket:  The Quad socket has  a shelf about one inch wide on the posterior wall of the socket which the Ischial Tuberosity rests on. The Quad socket has four clearly defined sides.

Residual limb:  The remaining portion of a limb after amputation, also called the “stump”.

Rigid dressing:  A plaster wrap over the stump, usually applied in the operating or recovery room immediately following surgery, usually in below the knee amputations, for the purpose of controlling oedema (swelling) and pain and to promote shrinkage and shaping of the residual limb in preparation for a prosthetic fitting.

S.A.C.H.:  Solid Ankle Cushioned Heel foot component.  A very basic, “passive” foot; very stable.

SD:  Shoulder Disarticulation-- Amputation through the shoulder joint.

Seat Canvas:  material between the metal seat rails usually underneath the seat cushion.

Seating – components on the wheelchair next to the patient, e.g. seat cushion and backrest.

Self Propelled Wheelchair – a wheelchair moved by the user by moving the rear wheels by themselves. These will be big wheels.

Shrinker:  A prosthetic reducer made of elastic material and designed to help control swelling of the residual limb and/or shrink it in preparation for a prosthetic fitting.

Single Axis Foot:  Used since the Civil War, this foot has an ankle hinge that provides dorsiflexion and plantar flexion. i.e. , toe up & toe down.  The disadvantages of a single axis foot include poor durability & cosmesis.

Single axis knee:  free swinging knee with small amount of friction.

Socket:  portion of prosthesis that fits around residual limb/stump and to which prosthetic components are attached.

Socket liner:  inner liner of foam, rubber, leather, other material for cushioning the residual limb.

Special Needs Buggy – a buggy providing additional more support and features than a shop bought buggy.

Special Wheelchair Controls – equipment on a powered wheelchair used to control the driving, without using a standard joystick.

Split hooks:  terminal devices with two hook-shaped fingers operated through the action of harness and cable systems.stance control:  friction device with an adjustable brake mechanism to add stability.

Stance flexion:  mimics normal knee flexion at heel strike.

State Registration –qualified clinical staff registered with their professional institutions.stump:  A word commonly used to refer to the residual limb. (SEE RESIDUAL LIMB)

Stump sock:  wool or cotton sock worn over residual limb to provide a cushion between the skin and socket interface.

Stump shrinker:  an elastic wrap or compression sock worn on a residual limb to reduce swelling and shape the limb.

Suction:  provides suspension by means of negative pressure vacuum in a socket; achieved by forcing air out of the socket through a one-way valve when donning and using the prosthesis.

Supercondylar suspension:  A method of holding on a prosthesis by clamping on the bony prominence above a joint, called “Condyles”

Suspension system(s):  The method used to hold the prosthesis on to the body.  Includes locking pin, TES belt, suspension sleeve, waist belt, and suction.

Swing phase: prosthesis moving from full flexion to full extension

Switch control:  use of electric switches to control current from a battery to operate an electric elbow, wrist rotator or terminal device.

Symes:  A disarticulation amputation through the ankle joint that retains the fatty heel pad portion for cushioning.temporary prosthesis:  A prosthesis made soon after an amputation as an inexpensive way to help retrain a person to walk and balance while shrinking the residual limb.

Terminal devices:  devices attached to the wrist unit of an upper extremity prosthesis that provide some aspect of the function (grasp, release, cosmesis, etc.).

TES belt:  A neoprene or Lycra suspension system for AK prostheses that has a ring which the prosthesis slides into. There is a neoprene belt that attaches around your waist by velcro/hook and loop fastener.

Tipping Aid/Lever – part of a manual wheelchair at the back that is used to help lift the front of the wheelchair to get a wheelchair up a kerb.

Transit wheelchair – wheelchair moved by an attendant pushing behind the wheelchair.

Transtarsal amputation:  Through the tarsal (tarsus) or foot bones. (SEE “PARTIAL FOOT AMPUTATION”)

Voluntary-closing devices:  terminal devices that are closed by forces on a control cable; grasp is proportional to the amount of pull on the cable.

Voluntary-opening devices:  terminal devices that are opened by body motion and closed by elastic bands or springs.

WestMARC – West of Scotland Mobility and Rehabilitation Centre.

Wheel axle – middle of the wheel around which the wheel spins.

Wheelchair – is a wheeled mobility device in which the user sits.

Wrist unit:  component that allows interchanging or repositioning of terminal devices.

WSS - wheelchair and seating service




Last Updated: 05 May 2020