Glossary of Terms

We understand that it can be overwhelming or confusing to tackle something new, especially when it comes to your body and health. To make your time with us easier, we have compiled a list of terms we commonly use in the orthotics and prosthetics world. We hope that this will be helpful to you as you embark on this challenge.

If at any time you have questions about terminology or your treatment plan, please don’t hesitate to ask us.


The surgical removal of all or part of a limb due to disease or injury

AE Amputee:

Above-elbow, or transhumeral, amputee

AK Amputee:

Above-knee, or transfemoral, amputee

BE Amputee:

Below-elbow, or transradial, amputee

BK Amputee:

Below-knee, or transtibial, amputee

Bilateral Limb:

Loss involving two limbs.

Body image:

Awareness and perception of one’s body related to both appearance and function


Also known as a partial foot amputation

Congenital Limb Deficiency:

An absent, shortened or abnormal limb present at birth


Amputation through the joint – i.e., hip, wrist, shoulder, knee, etc.


Relating to arm or leg


Referring to the manner or style of walking.

Hip Disarticulation:

Amputation of entire lower limb at hip level, or ischial tuberosity, also called the ischial bone or ischium; located in the pelvis and used for weight-bearing

Lower extremity (LE):

Relating to the leg


Type of upper extremity prosthesis that uses biofeedback to control the function

Orthosis/ Orthotic:

A brace/device that is used to straighten and provide support to a limb or the spine (plural: orthoses)


One who fits braces and devices designed to straighten or support extremities/spine.

Partial Foot:

Amputation through any part of the foot leaving the ankle intact.

PFFD Proximal Femoral Focal Deficiency:

Shortened femur bone


A sense of the location/orientation of one’s limb in space.

Prosthesis/ Prosthetic:

An artificial replacement for a body part (plural: prostheses)


One who fits and makes prostheses.


Limb loss involving four limbs

Residual Limb:

Description of remaining limb from joint to amputation site


Part of the prosthesis that encapsulates the residual limb


Amputation through the ankle


Amputation of entire lower limb, plus a portion of the pelvic bone; may also be referred to as a hemipelvectomy


Limb loss involving three limbs

Upper extremity (UE):

Relating to the arm