Essential knee terminology
Cadaver search for term

A cadaver is a dead body. This term is generally used for bodies which have been donated to medicine or science.

CAIS search for term

Cartilage autograft implantation system.

Calf stretch search for term

A rehabilitation exercise.

Callus search for term

The bridge of new bone between the bony ends of a break.

Callus distraction search for term

Elongating a limb, by stretching it at the site of a bone break and distracting the callus.

Capsule search for term

The capsule of the knee is a waterproof bladder which surrounds and protects the internal structures of the joint.

Capsulotomy search for term

Capsulotomy of the knee is a surgical procedure to release tightness of the capsule.

Carioca exercise search for term

A rehabilitation exercise.

Carpet fitter's knee search for term

An overuse condition in people who fit carpets for a living, where knee osteoarthritis occurs at much greater frequency than in the general public.

Carticel search for term

'Carticel' is the trade name given to the cell culture grown from a patient's joint cartilage, and then returned to the patient to replace damaged cartilage.

Cartilage search for term

This refers to the shiny white cap at the end of articulating bones (bones forming joints). The common term would be 'gristle', like the gristle at the end of a chicken bone.

Cartilage autograft implantation system search for term

A single surgical treatment of damaged knee cartilage using the patient's own cartilage taken from another part of the knee, ground up during the arthroscopy procedure and sealed into the defect using a fibrin sealant.

Cartilage damage search for term

Damage to the shiny white cartilage of the joint.

Cartilage graft search for term

A cartilage graft is a transplant of a piece of joint cartilage into a prepared recipient area where cartilage had been damaged.

Cartilage repair search for term

Cartilage Repair involves various techniques to restore damaged joint or articular cartilage.

Cartilage resurfacing search for term

Replacing an area of damaged joint cartilage with a viable implant.

Cartilage tissue engineering search for term

Cartilage tissue engineering includes those laboratory processes that allow the expansion of cartilage for use in replacing damaged joint cartilage.

Cartilagenous search for term

Cartilagenous means 'of cartilage'.

Cartilages search for term

Cartilages or 'knee cartilages' or 'semi-lunar cartilages' are the menisci of the knee.

Catching search for term

The sensation of something suddenly obstructing the smooth movement of the joint.

Caton-Deschamps Index search for term

The Caton-Deschamps Index is a measure of the position of the patella relative to the tibia.

Causalgia search for term

Same as complex regional pain syndrome.

CCI search for term

Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation. A procedure to grow cartilage cells (chondrocytes), seed them onto a collagen membrane, and sew that membrane back onto the knee to cover a cartilage lesion.

Cell-based surgery search for term

Cell-based surgery includes a group of modern treatments for tissue damage, where cells are manipulated and supported to grow into a prepared damaged area to heal the problem.

Cellulitis search for term

Cellulitis is a severe inflammation of the layers just under the skin in the connective tissue.

Cerclage wire search for term

A cerclage wire is a wire which is wound during surgery around several objects (eg bony fragments) to hold them together until they heal.

Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation search for term

A procedure to grow cartilage cells (chondrocytes), seed them onto a collagen membrane, and sew that membrane back onto the knee to cover a cartilage lesion.

Cho Pat strap search for term

A Cho Pat strap is the trade name of a thick elasticated tube brace which goes over the joint under the patella, to change the forces on the patellar tendon.

Chondral search for term

The word 'chondral' means 'of cartilage', usually inferring joint cartilage.

Chondral defect search for term

A chondral defect is a crater in the articular cartilage.

Chondritis search for term

Chondritis is a general term which means 'inflammation of the cartilage joint surface'.

Chondrocyte search for term

A chondrocyte is a cartilage cell.

Chondrocytes search for term

Cartilage cells.

Chondroitin search for term

Chondroitin (chondroitin sulphate) is a chemical substance which is widely taken by arthritics to slow joint cartilage breakdown.

Chondromalacia search for term

Chondromalacia means 'softening of the gristle or joint cartilage' and usually refers to the kneecap (patella). The softening can be felt with a blunt probe during surgery.

Chondropaenia search for term

Chondropaenia is the process of joint (articular) cartilage loss over time.

Chondroplasty search for term

Chondroplasty means 'reshaping the joint surface' and refers to simple surgical techniques whereby fibrillated (ragged) and damaged joint surface is cut, scraped, lasered or burred away in the hope that the healthy joint surface will heal over the defect.

Chondrosis search for term

Chondrosis is an abnormal process going on in the articular cartilage.

Chronic search for term

Chronic implies that something is an old problem, of long duration.

Claudication search for term

Pain in the calf and foot on walking, coming on only after a certain distance is walked.

Clergyman's knee search for term

Clergyman's knee is a swelling below the knee, properly called infrapatellar bursitis - inflammation in the infrapatellar bursa.

Clicking search for term

Sometimes a knee can make a clicking noise, and this may be painless or accompanied by discomfort or proper pain.

Clinical search for term

'Clinical' means 'medical'.

Clinical sign search for term

A clinical sign is a sign that is evident to a doctor examining a patient.

Clinician search for term

A clinician is a professional dealing with a patient's medical condition, eg a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist. It is a non-specific term, not implying any particular qualification or branch of medicine.

Closed chain search for term

Refers to the moving limb forming an unbroken chain with another surface, eg a foot on a bicycle pedal closes the 'chain' with the body.

Closed chain exercises search for term

Rehabilitation exercises where the moving limb is continually in contact with the surface of the exercise equipment, eg cycling.

Closing wedge osteotomy search for term

An operation to change the angulation of a bone (eg femur or tibia) by cutting a wedge out of one side and closing the gap. Compare with 'opening wedge' osteotomy.

Cochrane database search for term

A collection of several databases that contain different types of high-quality, independent evidence to inform healthcare decision-making.

Coefficient of friction search for term

Coefficient of friction is a measure of the 'slipperiness' of something, for example the cartilage at the end of bone.

Collagen matrix search for term

Collagen matrix is an insoluble fibrous protein that forms part of the background material of connective tissue.

Collagen meniscal implant search for term

A commercial product that is formed from collagen material pre-shaped into a knee meniscus.

Collagen scaffold search for term

A commercial product that is formed from collagen material pre-shaped to suit the anatomical structure for which it is to be used.

Collateral ligament search for term

The collateral ligaments are the 'guy ropes' on the sides of the knee.

Comminuted fracture search for term

A comminuted fractures is a bone break where the bone is smashed into several pieces.

Common peroneal nerve search for term

A branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower limb.

Compartment search for term

The knee joint cavity is deemed to have three 'compartments' - contact areas where the bones articulate.

Compartment overload search for term

When too much stress is occurring within one compartment of the knee.

Compartment syndrome search for term

Increased fluid pressure within a confined muscle region.

Complex regional pain syndrome search for term

Complex regional pain syndrome is an uncommon but very disabling pain disorder.

Computerised tomography search for term

Computerised tomography - or computerised axial tomography (CT or CAT scan) - is an X-ray imaging technique which allows the assessment of soft tissues as well as bones.

Condyle search for term

The condyles (or femoral condyles) are the rounded lower ends of the femur bone.

Congruence angle search for term

This is a measurement of the 'fit' of the kneecap (patella) into the underlying groove or 'trochlea' of the thighbone (femur).

Continuous passive motion search for term

Continuous passive motion is a rehabilitation technique where the knee is very gradually bent and straightened, over periods of hours, using a CPM machine.

Contusion search for term


Cooling system search for term

A system to apply cooled water or ice to the knee to reduce inflammation.

Coronal plane search for term

If you stood against a glass door, pressing your nose against the door, and holding your arms out to the side, the glass door would be representing the coronal plane in relation to your body.

Cortisone search for term

Cortisone is a steroid-based medication.

Cortisone injection search for term

Injections of 'cortisone' may be given into the knee joint and inflamed areas of the knee to quieten inflammation.

Cortisone shots search for term

An injection of a cortisone product.

CPM search for term

CPM is an abbreviation for 'continuous passive motion'.

CPM machine search for term

A CPM machine is a device fitted to the leg, usually after surgery, to keep the limb slowly bending and straightening.

Crabmeat cartilage search for term

When joint cartilage breaks down, it firstly softens and then forms a fibrillated appearance, where the white fronds resemble crab meat.

Crepitus search for term

Crepitus (in the knees) is a fine crunching noise, usually on bending the knee from standing.

Cross trainer search for term

Rehabilitation exercise equipment.

CRPS search for term

Abbreviation for 'complex regional pain syndrome'.

Cruciate allograft search for term

A reconstruction of the cruciate ligament using material from another person (ie donor tendon).

Cruciate ligament search for term

A cruciate ligament is a large ligament right in the middle of the knee. There are two of them - anterior (ACL) and posterior (PCL).

Cruciate ligament reconstruction search for term

A cruciate ligament reconstruction involves the use of graft material for creating a new cruciate ligament.

Cruciate ligament repair search for term

Cruciate ligament repair is repairing a torn or avulsed cruciate ligament from its two ends, rather than using a replacement graft.

Cruciate ligament revision search for term

Cruciate ligament revision is a second procedure when the original cruciate reconstruction or repair fails.

Cruciate repair search for term

Cruciate repair is repairing a torn or avulsed cruciate ligament from its two ends, rather than using a replacement graft.

Crunch (trunk flexion) search for term

A rehabilitation exercise.

Crutches search for term

Mobility aids to help with rehabilitation.

Cryocuff search for term

A system to supply cold water around a limb to help reduce inflammation.

Cryotherapy search for term

Cryotherapy is treatment using cold to reduce inflammation.

Crystal arthropathy search for term

Crystal arthropathy is damage to the joint from the deposition of crystals, eg the uric acid crystals of gout.

CT scan search for term

A scan of the body or a body part using the technique of computerised tomography.

Cybex search for term

Cybex is a trade name for an 'isokinetic' machine used both to measure knee function and for knee rehabilitation.

Cycling knee problems search for term

Cycling is often prescribed for knee rehabilitation, but cycling incorrectly can also lead to knee problems.

Cyclops lesion search for term

A cyclops lesion is a bunched up area of scar tissue in the notch of the femur.

Cyst search for term

A cyst is an abnormal discrete collection of fluid in a body space.

Cysts search for term

Abnormal pockets of fluid, for example bone cysts or Baker's cyst.

Cytokine search for term

Cytokines are small body proteins that are important in signalling cells around them to maintain tissues in a healthy state.