Leg Pain Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Leg Pain article.

Abdomen: The belly, that part of the body that contains all of the structures between the...

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Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Abdominal aorta: The abdominal aorta is the final section of the aorta, the largest ar...

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Acetaminophen: A nonaspirin pain reliever or analgesic. Acetaminophen may be given alone t...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Acute pain: Pain that comes on quickly, can be severe, but lasts a relatively shorter peri...

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Alcohol abuse: Use of alcoholic beverages to excess, either on individual occasions (binge...

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Alcoholism: Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use would b...

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Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Anatomy: The study of human or animal form, by observation or examination of the living be...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Angiography: A procedure performed to view blood vessels after injecting them with a radio...

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Ankle: The ankle joint is complex. It is made up of two joints: the true ankle joint and ...

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Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is tow...

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Aorta: The largest artery in the body, the aorta arises from the left ventricle of the he...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

Arrhythmia: An abnormal heart rhythm.

Arteriogram: An X-ray in which an injection of dye shows blood vessels.

Artery: A vessel that carries blood high in oxygen content away from the heart to the far...

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Arthralgia: Pain in a joint.

Arthritis: Inflammation of a joint. When joints are inflamed they can develop stiffness, w...

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Aspirate: To suck in. A patient may aspirate for example by accidentally drawing material ...

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Aspiration: Removal of a sample of fluid and cells through a needle. Aspiration also re...

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Atrial: Pertaining to the atria, the upper chambers of the heart, as in atrial fibrillatio...

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Back pain: Pain felt in the low or upper back. Causes of pain in the low and upper back in...

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Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Biceps: A muscle that has two heads, or origins. There is more than one biceps muscle. The...

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Bladder: A hollow organ in the lower abdomen that stores urine. The kidneys filter waste f...

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Blood clot: A mass of coagulated blood. A blood clot can block a major blood vessel, causi...

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Blood clots: Blood that has been converted from a liquid to a solid state. Also called a t...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Blood sugar: Blood glucose. See also: High blood sugar; Low blood sugar.

Bowel: The small and large intestine.

Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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C-reactive protein: An acute-phase plasma protein whose blood concentration reflects the p...

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Calcification: The process of suffusing tissues with calcium salts.

Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is ...

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Calf: The belly or fleshy hind part of the back of the leg below the knee. The calf is mad...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Carbon dioxide: A gas which is the byproduct of cellular metabolism and which collects in ...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cartilage: Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A flexible kind of cartilag...

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Cauda equina: A bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the end of the spinal cord. T...

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Cauda equina syndrome: Impairment of the nerves in the cauda equina, characterized by dull...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Chickenpox: A highly infectious viral disease also known medically as varicella -- in many...

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Chiropractic: A system of diagnosis and treatment based on the concept that the nervous sy...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chondrocalcinosis: Calcium deposition in cartilage. Chondrocalcinosis can be associated wi...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic pain: Pain (an unpleasant sense of discomfort) that persists or progresses over ...

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Claudication: Limping. From the Latin claudicare, which means 'to limp.' The Roman emperor...

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Collagen: The principal protein of the skin, tendons, cartilage, bone, and connective tiss...

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Compartment syndrome: A condition in which there is swelling and an increase in pressure w...

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Complication: In medicine, an unanticipated problem that arises following, and is a result...

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Compression: 1. The act of pressing together. As in a compression fracture, nerve c...

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Computerized tomography: Pictures of structures within the body created by a computer that...

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Contrast: Short for "contrast media." Contrast media are X-ray dyes used to provide contra...

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CRP: C-reactive protein.

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CT scan: Computerized tomography scan. Pictures of structures within the body created by a...

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Deep vein thrombosis: A blood clot within a deep vein, typically in the thigh or leg. The ...

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Dehydration: Excessive loss of body water. Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract that ca...

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Diabetes: Refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabetes mell...

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Diabetic neuropathy: Nerve damage caused by diabetes that leads to numbness and sometimes ...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. Also known as dilatate.

Disc: Shortened terminology for an intervertebral disc, a disk-shaped piece of specialized...

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Edema: The swelling of soft tissues as a result of excess fluid accumulation. Edema is oft...

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Electrolyte: A substance that dissociates into ions in solution and acquires the capacity ...

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Embolism: The obstruction of a blood vessel by a foreign substance or a blood clot that tr...

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Enoxaparin: A low-molecular-weight version of heparin that acts like heparin as an anticoa...

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Erythrocyte: A cell that contains hemoglobin and can carry oxygen to the body. Also called...

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Extremity: An uttermost part of the body, such as a hand or a foot.

Femoral: Having to do with the femur.

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Femoral artery: The continuation of the external iliac artery after it passes under the in...

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Femoral vein: The large vein in the groin that passes with the femoral artery under the in...

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Femur: The single bone in the thigh, which is the largest bone in the human body. Also kno...

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Fever: Although a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 degr...

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Fibrillation: In cardiology, an abnormal and erratic twitching of the heart muscle.

Fibula: The smaller of the two bones in the lower leg. The end of the fibula forms the bon...

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Flare: 1. an exacerbation of a chronic disease. Sometimes referred to as a flare-up, a fla...

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Fracture: A break in bone or cartilage. Although usually a result of trauma, a fracture ca...

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Funny bone: A sensation, rather than an actual bone, that one gets when the elbow is bumpe...

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Gout: Condition characterized by abnormally elevated levels of uric acid in the blood, rec...

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Gram stain: The Danish bacteriologist J.M.C. Gram (1853-1938) devised a method of staining...

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Groin: The area where the thigh meets the hip.

Hammer: The malleus.

Hamstring: One of the prominent tendons at the back of the knee. The hamstrings are the si...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heat cramps: Painful muscle spasms in the abdomen, arms, or legs following strenuous activ...

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Heat-related illness: A person with symptoms including headache, nausea, and fatigue after...

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Henoch-Schonlein purpura: See: Schonlein-Henoch purpura.

Hepatitis: Inflammation of the liver, irrespective of the cause. Hepatitis is caused by a ...

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Herniated disc: Rupturing of the tissue that separates the vertebral bones of the spinal c...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Hip pain: Hip pain is the sensation of discomfort in or around the hip joint, where the up...

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Ibuprofen: A nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) that is commonly used to treat pa...

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Iliac: Pertaining to the ilium.

Immune: Protected against infection, usually by the presence of antibodies.

Immune system: A complex system that is responsible for distinguishing a person from every...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Insertion: A chromosome abnormality that is due to insertion of a segment from one chromos...

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Intermittent claudication: An aching, crampy, tired, and sometimes burning pain in the leg...

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Intractable: Unstoppable. For example, intractable diarrhea is diarrhea that can't be stop...

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Ischemia: Inadequate blood supply to a local area due to blockage of blood vessels leading...

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Joint: The area where two bones are attached for the purpose of permitting body parts to m...

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Joint aspiration: A procedure whereby a sterile needle and syringe are used to drain joint...

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Juvenile: Between infantile and adult. Used in medicine to indicate onset in childhood, as...

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Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: See: Arthritis, systemic-onset juvenile rheumatoid.

Knee: The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the lar...

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Knee joint: The knee joint has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the large sh...

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Kneecap: The patella, the small bone in the front of the knee. The patella is a little (se...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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Leg: In popular usage, the part of the body from the top of the thigh down to the foot, an...

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Ligament: A tough band of connective tissue that connects various structures, such as two ...

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Low back pain: Pain in the lower back area that can relate to problems with the lumbar spi...

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Lower leg: The lower leg is the bottom segment of the leg: the part below the knee.

Lungs: The lungs are a pair of breathing organs located with the chest which remove carbon...

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Lupus: A chronic inflammatory disease that is caused by autoimmunity. Patients with lupus ...

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Lyme disease: An inflammatory disease that is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi...

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Meralgia paresthetica: Entrapment or pinching of the nerve that supplies sensation to the ...

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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Microscopic: So small it cannot be seen without the aid of microscope. As opposed to macro...

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Morton's neuroma: A swollen inflamed nerve in the ball of the foot, usually between the b...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Multiple sclerosis: A disease that is characterized by loss of myelin (demyelinization). A...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myalgia: Pain in the muscles or within muscle 'tissue.

Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Neuroma: A benign tumor that arises from a nerve as, for example, an acoustic glioma or op...

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Neuropathy: Any disease or malfunction of the nerves.

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Numb: Numb, or numbness is a loss of the sensation of feeling in an area of the body. Numb...

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Obesity: The state of being well above one's normal weight.

Obstruction: Blockage of a passageway. See, for example: Airway obstruction; Intestinal o...

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Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Osteoarthritis: A type of arthritis caused by inflammation, breakdown, and eventual loss ...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one mu...

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Patella: The kneecap by another name, the patella is the small bone that is in the front ...

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Pelvis: The lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones. Structures in the fe...

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Periosteum: A dense membrane composed of fibrous connective tissue that closely wraps all ...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral artery disease: A form of peripheral vascular disease in which there is partial...

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Peripheral neuropathy: A problem with the functioning of the nerves outside the spinal cor...

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Peripheral vascular disease: A disease of blood vessels outside the heart. Peripheral vasc...

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Pernicious anemia: Low red blood cell count caused by inadequate vitamin B12. Abbreviated ...

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Pharmacist: A professional who fills prescriptions and, in the case of a compounding pharm...

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Physical therapy: A branch of rehabilitative health that uses specially designed exercises...

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Plaque: 1. An semi-hardened accumulation of substances from fluids that bathe an a...

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Popliteal: Referring to the back of the knee. For example, the popliteal fossa is the holl...

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Popliteal fossa: The hollow behind the knee.

Posterior: The back or behind, as opposed to the anterior.

Potassium: The major positive ion (cation) found inside cells. The chemical notation for p...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Prescription: A physician's order for the preparation and administration of a drug or dev...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Pseudogout: Inflammation of the joints that is caused by deposits of calcium pyrophosphate...

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Psoriasis: A reddish, scaly rash often located over the surfaces of the elbows, knees, sca...

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Pulmonary: Having to do with the lungs.

Pulmonary embolism: Sudden closure of a pulmonary artery or one of its branches, caused by...

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Purpura: Hemorrhage (bleeding) into the surface of the skin. The area of skin with purpura...

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Quadriceps: Although the term "quadriceps" technically may refer to any four-headed muscle...

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Radiate: To spread out from a central area. For example, sciatic pain may radiate outward ...

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Range of motion: The full movement potential of a joint, usually its range of flexion and ...

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Rash: Breaking out (eruption) of the skin. A rash can be caused by an underlying medical c...

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Restless legs: See: Restless leg syndrome.

Rheumatic fever: An illness that occurs following a streptococcus infection (such as a "st...

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Rheumatoid arthritis: An autoimmune disease characterized by chronic inflammation of joint...

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Risk factor: Something that increases a person's chances of developing a disease. For exam...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Sciatic nerve: The largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve begins from nerve roots in...

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Sciatica: Pain that results from irritation of the sciatic nerve and typically radiates fr...

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Sclerosis: Localized hardening of skin. Sclerosis is generally caused by underlying diseas...

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Sedimentation rate: A blood test that detects and monitors inflammation in the body. Abbre...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Shin: 1. The tibia, the larger of the two bones in the lower leg.
2. T...

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Shin splint: An inflammatory condition of the front part of the tibia (the big bone in the...

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Shinbone: The larger of the two bones in the lower leg (the smaller one being the fibula)....

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Shingles: An acute infection caused by the herpes zoster virus, the same virus as causes ...

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Shock: In medicine, a critical condition that is brought on by a sudden drop in blood flow...

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Skeleton: The skeleton is composed of bones and is the framework of the body.

Sleep: The body's rest cycle.

Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Spasm: A brief, automatic jerking movement. A muscle spasm can be quite painful, with the ...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Sprain: An injury to a ligament that results from overuse or trauma. The treatment of a sp...

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Staphylococcus: A group of bacteria that cause a multitude of diseases. Under a microscope...

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Strain: 1. An injury to a tendon or muscle resulting from overuse or trauma. 2. A heredita...

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Streptococcus: A group of bacteria that causes a multitude of diseases. Under a microscope...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Superficial: In anatomy, on the surface or shallow. As opposed to deep. The skin is superf...

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Symptom: Any subjective evidence of disease. In contrast, a sign is objective. Blood comin...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Synovitis: Inflammation of the synovial membrane, the lining of the joints.

Systemic: Affecting the entire body. A systemic disease such as diabetes can affect the wh...

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Tear: A drop of the salty secretion of the lacrimal glands which serves to moisten the con...

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Tendon: The soft tissue by which muscle attaches to bone. Tendons are somewhat flexible, b...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thigh: The thick, muscular portion of the leg that extends from the hip to the knee. The t...

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Thrombosis: The formation or presence of a blood clot in a blood vessel. The vessel may be...

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Tibia: The larger of the two long bones in the lower leg. The tibia is familiarly known as...

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Tomography: The process for generating a tomogram, a two-dimensional image of a slice or s...

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Tylenol: See: Acetaminophen.

Ulnar: Pertaining to the ulna, the larger bone in the forearm.

Ulnar nerve: A major nerve in the upper extremity that supplies both sensory and motor inn...

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Ultrasound: High-frequency sound waves. Ultra-sound waves can be bounced off tissues by us...

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Upper leg: More properly called the thigh, the upper leg is the area between the knee and ...

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Uric acid: A breakdown product of purines that are part of many foods. In gout, there are ...

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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Varicose veins: See: Varicose vein.

Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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Vein: A blood vessel that carries blood that is low in oxygen content from the body back t...

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Vessel: A tube in the body that carries fluids. Examples of vessels are blood vessels and ...

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Virus: A microorganism that is smaller than a bacterium that cannot grow or reproduce apar...

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Vitamin D: A steroid vitamin which promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of ca...

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Warfarin: An anticoagulant drug (brand names: Coumarin, Panwarfin, Sofarin) taken to prev...

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White blood cell: One of the cells the body makes to help fight infections. There are seve...

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White blood cell count (leukocyte count): The number of white blood cells (WBCs) in the b...

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Wrist: The part of the hand that is nearest the forearm and consists of the carpal bones a...

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