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Medical TermDescription
abductionMovement of a limb away from the midline or axis of the body.
achilles tendonThe tendon connecting the muscles in the back of the calf to the calcaneus (heel bone).
adductionMovement of a limb toward the midline or axis of the body
adhesionBands of scar tissue that can develop after surgery.
aerobicsSustained strenuous exercise that improves cardiovascular and respiratory fitness.
anxiety disordersA group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear.
ataxiaInability to coordinate voluntary muscle movements, not due to muscle weakness.
atonicWithout normal muscle tone or strength
atrophyDiminished size or wasting away of body tissue, for example muscles.
bicepsA muscle having two heads. Commonly used to refer to the muscles that extend from the shoulder joint to the elbow.
bradykinesiaAbnormally slow body movement.
buttocksEither of two fleshy protuberances at the lower posterior section of the trunk or hip consisting of gluteal muscles and fat.
carpal tunnel syndromeA common source of hand numbness and pain. Can be associated with repetitive occupational trauma, wrist injuries, rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy.
chronic fatigue syndromeA debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue or tiredness that doesn't go away with rest.
circumductionA conical movement of a limb extending from the joint.
contractureA condition that occurs when normally elastic tissues are replaced by inelastic fiber-like tissue.
cool downGradually decreasing heart rate, blood pressure, respiratory rate and body temperature after exercise.
dorsiflexionThe movement of the ankle joint that brings the dorsal (top region) of the foot towards the shin.
dystrophyAny abnormal condition caused by defective nutrition
electromyographyA test of the health of the muscles and the nerves that control the muscles.
ergonomicsDesign work that reduces stress and eliminates injuries associated with the overuse of muscles, bad posture and repeated tasks.
fasci/ofascia (layer of fibrous tissue)
fasciitisInflammation of the fascia, which is the connective tissue surrounding muscles, blood vessels and nerves.
fibromyalgiaA common, chronic disorder characterized by widespread pain, diffuse tenderness, chronic fatigue, and other symptoms.
heel spurA bony outgrowth on the lower surface of the heel bone.
hemiparesisWeakness or paralysis of the entire left or right side of the body. Caused by congenital conditions, trauma, stroke or tumors.
hemiplegiaParalysis of one side of the body.
herniaAbnormal protrusion of tissue, structure, or part of an organ through the bone, muscular tissue, or the membrane by which it is normally contained.
hyperkinesiaSpontaneous involuntary movements.
hypotoniaPoor muscle tone usually detected at birth or during infancy. It is reflected in the APGAR score.
impingement syndromeThe result of chronic and repetitive compression of the rotator-cuff tendons in the shoulder.
intermittent claudicationMuscle pain caused by too little blood flow, usually during exercise.
leiomy/osmooth (visceral) muscle
muscular dystrophiesA heterogeneous group of inherited myopathies, characterized by wasting and weakness of the skeletal muscle.
muscular dystrophyA group of over thirty genetic diseases characterized by progressive degeneration of the skeletal muscles that control movement.
myalgiaMuscle pain.
myasthenia gravisA chronic autoimmune disease characterized by weakness of the skeletal muscles.
myoceleProtrusion of muscle substance through a hole in its sheath
myoclonusSudden, involuntary jerking of a muscle.
myolysisBreakdown of muscle tissue.
myoparesisSlight muscle paralysis.
neuromuscularDisorders that affect the nerves that control voluntary muscles.
nocturnal myoclonusA sleep disorder where the patient moves involuntarily during sleep. Also called periodic limb movement disorder.
obliqueA slanting direction.
paralysisLoss of muscle function.
paraplegiaParalysis affecting the legs.
pectoralRelating to the thorax.
plantar fasciitisIrritation of the connective tissue that runs from the heel to the base of the toes. Also known as :postman's heel".
pronationThe inward roll of the foot (medial malleolus) while walking or running.
quadriceps muscleThe quadriceps femoris. A collective name of the four-headed skeletal muscle of the thigh.
quadriplegiaParalysis that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso.
rotator cuffThe musculotendinous sheath formed by the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis, and teres minor muscles. These help stabilize the head of the humerus in the glenoid fossa and allow for rotation of the shoulder joint about its longitudinal axis.
shin splintInflammation of the muscles, tendons, and bone tissue around the tibia.
shiveringInvoluntary contraction or twitching of the muscles due to cold or fear.
spasmAn involuntary contraction of a muscle or group of muscles.
sphincterA ring-link muscle that constrictions a natural body passage or orifice and which relaxes as needed. Present in the rectum and urinary tract.
sprainAn injury caused by tearing of the fibers of a ligament.
strainOverstretching or overexertion of a part of the musculature.
tax/oorder, coordination
tendinousRelating to tendons.
tensorAny muscle that causes stretching or tension of a body part.
ton/otension, tone
tricepsMuscle with three heads, particularly the muscle on the back of the upper arm that contracts to extend the forearm.

Authors and Reviewers

Authored by Dr. Barbara A. Erickson
Medically reviewed by Dr. Jonathan Keroes, MD
Last Update: 12/18/2022

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