Amputation Abbreviations

BKA = below-knee amputation

AKA = above-knee amputation

LBKA = left below-knee amputation

RBKA = right below knee amputation

BAKA = bilateral above-knee amputation

BBKA = bilateral below-knee amputation


Abduction: Motion of a body part away from the midline of the body.

Abrasion: Wearing away the skin through rubbing or friction.

Adduction: Motion of a body part toward the midline of the body.

AEA/AE:  Above elbow amputee amputee or “transhumeral” amputee.

AKA/AK:  Above knee amputee or “transfemoral” amputee

Alignment: Position of the prosthetic socket in relation to foot and knee.

Amputation: Loss or absence of all or part of a limb.

Anterior: Front

Assistive/Adaptive Equipment: Devices that assist in activities or mobility, including ramps, bars, changes in furniture heights, environmental control units, and other devices.

BAK/BAKA: Bilateral above-knee amputee.

BBK/BBKA: Bilateral below-knee amputee.

BE/BEA: Below elbow amputee or “transradial” amputee.

Bilateral amputee: A person missing either both arms or both legs, a double amputee.

Biomechanics: Applying mechanical principles to the study of how the human body moves.

BK/BKA: Below knee amputee or”transtibial” amputee.

BOC: Board for Orthotists/Prosthetists Certification

Body Image: The awareness and perception of one’s own body related to both appearance and function.

Carpals: Small bones close to your wrist.

Check or Test Socket: A temporary socket, often transparent, made over the plaster model to aid in obtaining the proper fit and function of the prosthesis.

Congenital Amputee: Individual born missing a limb(s).

Contracture: Tightening of muscles around a joint which restricts the range of motion

Cosmesis: Refers to the appearance of the prosthesis, whether a “naturalistic” treatment is attempted with an outer cover.

CP(Certified Prosthetist): A person who hasattained Certification in Prosthetics.

CPO(Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist): A person who has attained a Certification in Prosthetics and Orthotics.

Crutches- Axillary: A crutch that extends up into your armpit and has a handlebetween the bars to bear weight on with your hands.

Crutches-Forearm: A crutch that extends up to a handle and has an additional extension that wraps around your forearm for additional support.

Crutches-Folding: Something that all amputees are hoping someone in South Africawill manufacture locally. Come on guys!

DAK: Double (aka bilateral) above knee amputee.

Definitive or “Permanent” Prosthesis: A replacement for a missing limb or part of a limb which meets accepted check-out standards for comfort, fit, alignment, function, appearance, and durability.

Desensitization: The process of making the residual limb less sensitive to touch by massaging, tapping or using a vibrator.

Distal: (1) The end of the residual limb. (2) Farther from the central portion of thebody. Opposite of proximal.

Disarticulation: An amputation through a joint.

Dorsiflexion: Pointing the toe/foot upward.

ED: Elbow Disarticulation; an amputation through the elbow joint.

Edema: A local or generalized condition in which the body tissues contain an excess of fluid.

Elastic Wrap: Elasticized bandage used to prevent swelling and encourageshrinkage and maturation of the residual limb.

Elbow Disarticulation: Amputation of the arm through the elbow.

Endoskeletal Prosthesis: Prosthesis built more like a human skeleton with support andcomponents on the inside.

Energy storing foot: A prosthetic foot designed with a flexible heel.

Exoskeletal Prosthesis: a prosthesis that is hollow on the inside with a hard outersurface to bear weight.

Extention(knee): Standing position.

Flexion Contracture: When your knee or hip is bent and you can’t straighten it out.

Flexion(knee): Sitting position.

Fibula: The smaller of the two bones in your shin, located toward the rear and outside.

Forequarter Amputation (Interscapulthorasic): Amputation of the Arm,shoulder, clavicle and scapula.

Gait Training: Learning how to walk with your prosthesis or prostheses.

Gimp: Someone who walks with a limp(slang).

HD(Hip Disarticulation): Amputation which removes the leg atthe hip joint, leaving the pelvis intact.

HP(Hemipelvectomy): An amputation where approximately half of the pelvis is removed.

Ischial Containment Socket: Is a derivative of the Narrow ML, asa special attempt is made to form a little pocket for the ischium to sit in.

Ischial Tuberosity: The large sitting bone: A bone that protrudes from your pelvis that may get sore when sitting on a hard surface for extended periods of time.

Ischium: The lower portion of the hipbone. This is the bone that protrudes from yourpelvis that may get sore when sitting on a hard surface for extended periods oftime.

Knee Disarticulation (KD) or through the knee (TDK): Amputation of the leg through the knee.

LAE: Left above elbow amputee.

LBK: Left below knee amputee.

LAK: Left above knee amputee.

Lateral: To the side, away from the mid-line of the body.

LBE: Left below elbow amputee.

Liner: Suspension systems used to attach prosthesis to the residual limb. These linersmay be made of silicon, pelite or gel substances.

MAS Socket: Marlo Anatomical Socket (AK)- provides ssupport from the pubicramus rather than the ischium and features lower trim lines in the front andback.

Medial: Toward the mid-line of the body.

Metacarpals: Bones behind your fingers.

Metatarsals: Bones behind your toes.

Multiaxis foot: Allows inversion and eversion and rotation of foot and iseffective for walking on uneven surfaces.

Neuroma: The end of a nerve left after amputation, which continues to grow in acauliflower shape.

NWB: Non-weight bearing.

Occupational Therapy/OT: Teaching how to perform activities of daily living such asfeeding, grooming, bathing and dressing as independently as possible.

Orthotics: The profession of providing devices to support and straighten the body.

Orthotist: A skilled professional who fabricates orthotic devices that are prescribed by a physician.

Orthosis: A device that is used to protect, support, or improve function of parts of the body that move.

Paragliding: Something an amputee should try at least once.

Pelvis/Pelvic Girdle: Series of bones shaped like a basket just above your hips.

Phantom pain: Pain, which seems to originate in the portion of the limb, whichwas removed.

Phantom sensation: The normal ghost image of the absent limb may feel normal attimes and at other times, be uncomfortable or painful.

Physiatrist: A doctor of Rehabilitation Medicine who specializes in the comprehensive management of patients with impairments and disabilities arising from neuromuscular, musculoskeletal, and vascular disorders.

Physical Therapist: A therapist who is concerned with your gross motor activitiessuch as transfers, gait training, and how to function with or without aprosthesis.

Pistoning: Refers to the residual limb slipping up and down inside the Prosthetic socket while walking.

Pneumatic/Hydraulic: Used in reference to knee joints and provides controlled changes in the speed of walking.

Prosthesis: An artificial part of the body. In the case of amputees, usually an arm or aleg.

Prosthetics: The profession of providing cosmetic and/or functional restoration of missing human parts.

Prosthetist: A person involved in the science and art of prosthetics; one who designs and fits artificial limbs.

Proximal: Nearer to the central portion of the body; opposite of distal.

Posterior: The back side of the body or part in question, i.e. posterior knee or patellar region.

PTB: Patellar Tendon Bearing BK Prosthesis where weight is on the tendon below the kneecap.

PWB: Partial weight bearing.

PWD: People/persons with a disability.

Pylon: A rigid member, usually tubular, between the socket or knee unit and the foot that provides a weight bearing support shaft for an endoskeletal prosthesis.

Quad Socket: A socket designed for an above the knee amputee which has fourdistinctive sides allowing the muscles to function as much as possible.

RAE: Right above elbow amputee.

RAK: Right above knee amputee.

Radius: Forearm bone, on the same side as your thumb.

Ramus: The middle portion of the pubic bone, in the crotch area. The front middle portion of the pubic bone, palpated just above the genitals

Range of motion: The amount of movement a limb has in a specific direction at a specific joint such as your hip or knee.

RBE: Right below elbow amputee.

RBK: Right below knee amputee.

Rehabilitation: The process of restoring a person who has been debilitated by a disease or injury to a functional life.

Residual limb: The portion of the arm or leg remaining after the amputation.Some people refer to it as a “stump”.

SACH Foot: Solid-Ankle Cushion Heel prosthetic foot.

Shock Pylon: A prosthetic pylon that dampens the vertical forces exerted onthe residual limb.

Shoulder Disarticulation (SD): Amputation through the shoulder joint.

Shrinker: A prosthetic reducer made of elastic material and designed to help control swelling of the residual limb (edema) and/or shrink it in preparation for a prosthetic fitting.

Single Axis Foot: This foot is based on an ankle hinge that provides dorsi flexionand plantar flexion. I.e. toe up & toe down.

Shock pylon: A shock absorber used to cushion the impact of walking.

Shuttlelock: A mechanism that locks a pin attached to the distal end of aliner locking the residual limb into a socket.

Skydiving: Something an amputee should try at least once.

Soft socket: A soft-liner built into a prosthetic socket to provide cushioning or permit muscle function.

Split hooks: Terminal devices with two hook-shaped fingers operated through the action of harness and cable systems.

Stance control: Friction device with an adjustable brake mechanism to addstability to a prosthetic knee unit.

Stump: A word commonly used to refer to the residual limb.

Suction socket: A socket designed to provide suspension by means of negativepressure vacuum in a socket; achieved by forcing air out of the socket througha one-way valve when donning and using the prosthesis.

Supracondylar Suspension: A method of holding on prosthesis by clamping on the bonyprominence above a joint, called “Condyles”

Suspension system(s): The method used to hold the prosthesis on to the body. Includeslocking pin, TES belt, suspension sleeve, waist belt, supercondular, PTB andsuction.

Swing phase: Prosthesis moving from full flexion to full extension. Usuallyused in reference to prosthetic knee units.

Switch control: Use of electric switches to control current from a battery tooperate an electric elbow, wrist rotator or terminal device

Symes amputation: An amputation through the ankle joint that retains the fatty heel pad portion and is intended to provide end weight bearing.

Temporary Prosthesis: A prosthesis made soon after an amputation as an inexpensive wayto help retrain a person to walk and balance while shrinking the residual limb.

TEC: Total Environmental Control liner

TES belt: A neoprene or Lycra suspension system for AK prostheses that hasa ring that the prosthesis slides into. There is a neoprene belt that attachesaround your waist by Velcro/hook and loop fastener. Is use to give addedsuspension of a prosthesis and/or control rotation.

Tibia: The larger of the two bones in your shin.

Traumatic amputation: An amputation that is the result of an injury.

Tuberosity: Projection of bone that muscles and tendons hang onto.

Ulna: Forearm bone, on the side away from your thumb.

Valgus: Knee bending inward toward the midline of the body.

Varus: Knee bending outward away from the midline of the body.

Wrist Disarticulation (WD): Amputation through the wrist.


Chopart: Partial foot amputation

Extremity: A limb of the body

Hip Disarticulation: Amputation of entire lower limb at hip level

Lower Extremity (LE): Relating to the leg

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


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

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