Essential knee terminology
Cadaver search for term

A cadaver is a dead body - this term is generally used for bodies that have been donated to medicine or science.

CAIS search for term

CAIS is an abbreviation for 'cartilage autograft implantation system'.

Calf stretch search for term

A calf stretch is a rehabilitation exercise to improve knee extension.

Callus search for term

Callus is the bridge of new bone that heals the bony ends of a fracture (break).

Callus distraction search for term

Callus distraction is the method of elongating a limb, by stretching it at the site of a deliberate bone break and distracting the callus (bone bridge).

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.

Page updated August 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Carioca exercise search for term

Carioca exercise is a rehabilitation exercise before return to sport, for example after cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Carpet fitter's knee search for term

Carpet fitter's knee is an overuse condition in people who fit carpets for a living, where several knee problems can occur from spending so much time on their knees and using a 'knee kicker' to stretch the carpet.

Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

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

Cartilage is a shiny white material found in parts of the respiratory tract, the ear and at the ends of articulating bones. The common term would be 'gristle', like the gristle at the end of a chicken bone.

Cartilage autograft implantation system search for term

The cartilage autograft implantation system (CAIS) involves a single surgical treatment of damaged knee cartilage using the patient's own cartilage taken from another part of the knee.

Cartilage damage search for term

Cartilage damage may include softening of the shiny white gristle covering the ends of a joint or it may progress to total destruction and leave the end of the bone bare.

Cartilage fibrillation search for term

Cartilage fibrillation is an advanced stage of articular cartilage damage, when the normally resilient material breaks down in feathery strands revealing the underneath bone.

Page updated February 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

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

Cartilage resurfacing is the method of replacing an area of damaged joint cartilage with a shallow implant, which can be cell-based (eg ACI) or a resurfacing implant such as the Hemicap.

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 'meniscus cartilages' or 'semi-lunar cartilages') are old-fashioned words for the menisci of the knee.

Catching search for term

Catching in the knee is 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

Causalgia is an old name for complex regional pain syndrome.

CCI search for term

CCI is an abbreviation of Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation.

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 broken bony fragments to hold them together until they heal.

Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation search for term

Characterised Chondrocyte Implantation (CCI) is 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.

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.

Chondroitin search for term

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

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

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.

Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Chondropaenia search for term

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

Chondroplasty search for term

Chondroplasty means 'reshaping the cartilage surface' of the joint.

Chondrosis search for term

Chondrosis means that some abnormal process is 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

Claudication is 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 true 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 and which points to the underlying diagnosis.

Clinician search for term

A clinician is a professional dealing with a patient's medical condition, eg a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist.

Closed chain search for term

Closed chain exercises are those where the moving limb forms an unbroken chain with another surface.

Closed chain exercises search for term

Closed chain exercises are those rehabilitation exercises where the moving limb is continually in contact with the surface of the exercise equipment, eg cycling.

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Closing wedge osteotomy search for term

A closing wedge osteotomy is 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.

Cochrane database search for term

The Cochrane database is 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 collagen meniscal implant is a commercial product that is formed from collagen material pre-shaped into a knee meniscus.

Collagen scaffold search for term

A collagen scaffold is 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, tethering the femur to the tibia.

Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Collateral ligament injury search for term

Collateral ligament injuries of the knee are common, either in isolation or in combination with damage to the meniscus or cruciate ligament or capsule.

Comminuted fracture search for term

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

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Common knee scoring systems search for term

Knee scoring systems help document the status of knee problems at any one time.

Common knee symptoms search for term

When speaking to the doctor or physiotherapist being able to describe the exact symptoms will help with diagnosis.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Common peroneal nerve search for term

The common peroneal nerve is branch of the sciatic nerve, which supplies movement and sensation to the lower limb.

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Compartment search for term

A compartment of the knee is an area of articulation - the knee joint cavity is deemed to have three 'compartments'.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Compartment overload search for term

Compartment overload is when too much stress is occurring within one of the three compartments of the knee.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Compartment syndrome search for term

Compartment syndrome refers to the muscle compartments, and is a situation where there is sudden and dangerously increased fluid pressure within a confined muscle region.

Complex regional pain syndrome search for term

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

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

 

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.

Concentric muscle contraction search for term

A concentric muscle contraction is one in which the muscle shortens as it contracts.

Condyle search for term

The condyle of the femur bone (or femoral condyle) is the rounded lower end on each side of the femur bone.

Congruence angle search for term

The congruence angle 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.

Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Contusion search for term

A contusion is a crushing injury to the tissues, such as a bruise.

Cooling system search for term

A cooling system for knee rehabilitation applies cooled water, ice or other cold liquid to the joint to reduce inflammation.

Core strength search for term

Core strength is the strength and balance of the trunk and hip muscles.

Coronal plane search for term

The coronal plane is an anatomical vertical plane that divides the body into belly and back sections.

Corticosteroid search for term

Corticosteroids are substances originally derived from the adrenal gland, and which function to reduce inflammation. Modern corticosteroids are commercially synthesised.

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.

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. CPM stands for Continuous Passive Motion.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Crabmeat cartilage search for term

Crabmeat cartilage is joint cartilage that has broken down into fibrillated white fronds that 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

The cross trainer is a commonly-used piece of rehabilitation exercise equipment.

CRPS search for term

Abbreviation for 'complex regional pain syndrome', CRPS is a syndrome of excessive pain following injury or surgery to the knee, where the pain is accompanied by skin colour and temperature changes and problems with regaining range of motion of the limb.

Cruciate search for term

The word 'cruciate' means 'crossed', and in the knee the term relates to the cruciate ligaments right in the middle of the knee.

Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate allograft search for term

Cruciate allograft is a reconstruction of the cruciate ligament using donor material from another person (eg tendon). The tissue is harvested from a donor, and processed to make it safe and able to be stored.

Cruciate instability search for term

Cruciate instability is a feeling of abnormal movement in the knee joint consequent on damage to one or both cruciate ligaments.

Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate ligament search for term

The cruciate ligaments are the important central 'stays' of the knee joint, contributing significantly to the stability of the joint.

Page updated January 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate ligament injury search for term

A cruciate ligament injury may affect anterior or posterior cruciate ligament or both. The ligament may tear, stretch or avulse from the bony attachment.

Page updated February 2024 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate ligament reconstruction search for term

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

Page updated November 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate ligament repair search for term

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

Page updated October 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cruciate ligament revision search for term

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

Page updated August 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

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.

Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Crunch (trunk flexion) search for term

The crunch is a rehabilitation exercise to build core strength.

Crutches search for term

Crutches are mobility aids to help with lower limb rehabilitation.

Cryocuff search for term

Cryocuff is a commercial system to supply cold water around a limb or joint 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 CT scan of the body or a body part uses the technique of computerised tomography.

Cyamella search for term

A cyamella is a small bony ossicle contained within the tendon of the popliteus muscle.

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, usually seen as a complication of anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction.

Page updated September 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

Cyst search for term

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

Cytokine search for term

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

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