Explore our glossary of terms to better understand the meaning of words and phrases that are typically used in the orthotic and prosthetic setting.

Common Terminology in Orthotics & Prosthetics

  • Amputation: 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
  • BAKA: Bilateral Above-Knee Amputee
  • Bilateral: Loss of both arms or both legs
  • Chopart: Partial foot amputation
  • Congenital Limb Deficiency: An absent, shortened or abnormal limb present at birth
  • Disarticulation: Amputation through the joint (i.e., hip, wrist, shoulder, knee, etc.)
  • Extremity: A limb of the body
  • Gait: Referring to the manner or style of walking
  • Hip Disarticulation: Amputation of entire lower limb at hip level
  • Lower Extremity (LE): Relating to the leg
  • Orthotist: One who fits and makes orthoses
  • Partial Foot: Amputation through any part of the foot leaving the ankle intact
  • Proprioception: A sense of the location/orientation of one’s limb in space
  • Prosthesis/ Prosthetic: An artificial replacement for a body part (plural: prostheses)
  • Prosthetist: One who fits and makes prostheses
  • Quadrilateral: Limb loss involving four limbs
  • Residual Limb: Description of remaining limb from joint to amputation site
  • Stump: A less commonly used word that describes the remaining limb
  • Socket: Part of the prosthesis that encapsulates the residual limb
  • Symes: Amputation through the ankle
  • Transpelvic: Amputation of entire lower limb, plus a portion of the pelvic bone; may also be referred to as a hemipelvectomy
  • Trilateral: Loss of three limbs
  • Upper Extremity (UE): Relating to the arm

Certifications for Orthotic & Prosthetic Providers

Credentials representing certification by the American Board for Certification (ABC):

  • CPO: Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist
  • CP: Certified Prosthetist
  • CO: Certified Orthotist
  • CPed: Certified Pedorthist
  • CPOA: Certified Prosthetic/Orthotic Assistant
  • COA: Certified Orthotic Assistant
  • CPA: Certified Prosthetic Assistant
  • CFm: Certified Mastectomy Fitter
  • CFo: Certified Orthotic Fitter
  • CFts: Certified Therapeutic Shoe Fitter
  • CTO: Certified Orthotic Technician
  • CTP: Certified Prosthetic Technician
  • CTPO: Certified Prosthetic/Orthotic Technician

Credentials representing certification by the Board for Certification/Accreditation (BOC):

  • BOCO, BOCP: Certified Prosthetist/Orthotist
  • BOCP: Certified Prosthetist
  • BOCO: Certified Orthotist
  • BOCPD: Certified Pedorthist
  • COF: Certified Orthotic Fitter
  • CMF: Certified Mastectomy Fitter

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