Physical Therapy Abbreviations Commonly Used by PTs

Physiotherapy.
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Physical therapists often use medical abbreviations in their note writing. To the non-trained therapists, these abbreviations and shorthand annotations can often be confusing. Below is a list of commonly used physical therapy abbreviations. You may also see various abbreviations on a prescription for physical therapy from your doctor. Learning these abbreviations can help you determine what sort of techniques your PT may be using to help you fully recover.

Types of Physical Therapy Abbreviations

  • Weight Bearing Abbreviations - When working with weight bearing restrictions, you will likely need to walk with an assistive device like a cane, crutches, or a walker. Your physical therapist can show you how to use your assistive device and make sure it is sized correctly for you.
  • Assistive Device Abbreviations
  • Range of Motion Abbreviations
  • Therapeutic Modalities - These treatments are used to help improve circulation, muscle contractions, and inflammation.
  • Exercise Equipment Abbreviations - Your physical therapist may use a variety of abbreviations in their clinic. For example, some McKenzie-trained physical therapists use the term REIL to indicate the press-up exercise. (REIL stands for repeated extension in lying.) 

Use this resource to review the most common abbreviations in physical therapy and their meanings. If you have access to your physical therapy and rehab notes and see something you do not understand, just ask your physical therapist.

Physical Therapy Abbreviations (A-Z)

# -

  • 50%WB -  50 Percent Weight Bearing

A - 

  • ā -  Before
  • AAROM -  Active Assistive Range Of Motion
  • ABD -  Abduction
  • ACJ -  Acromioclavicular Joint
  • ACL -  Anterior Cruciate Ligament
  • AD -  Assistive Device
  • ADD -  Adduction
  • ADL -  Activities Of Daily Living
  • AFO -  Ankle Foot Orthosis (Used To Treat Foot Drop)
    • AKA -  Above Knee Amputation
    • Amb -  Ambulation
    • AROM -  Active Range Of Motion

    B -

    • B -  Bilateral
    • BID -  Twice A Day
    • BKA -  Below Knee Amputation

    C - 

    • C -  With
    • CGA -  Contact Guard Assist
    • CKC -  Closed Kinetic Chain
    • CP -  Cold Pack
    • CPM -  Continuous Passive Motion
    • CTx -  Cervical Traction

    D - 

    • DB -  Dumbbell
    • DF -  Dorsiflexion
    • DF -  Dorsiflexion (Of The Ankle)
    • DJD -  Degenerative Disc Disease

    E - 

    • ER -  External Rotation
    • Estim or ES -  Electrical Stimulation
    • EV -  Eversion (Of The Ankle)
    • Ex -  Exercise
    • EXT -  Extension (Or A Slash Mark Is Used To Signify Extension)

    F - 

    • FIM score -  Functional Independence Level
    • FLEX -  Flexion (Or Simply A Check Mark Is Used To Signify Flexion)
    • FWB -  Full Weight Bearing
    • Fx -  Fracture

    G - 

    • GHJ -  Glenohumeral Joint

    H - 

    • H/o -  History Of
    • HEP -  Home Exercise Program
    • HOB -  Head Of Bed
    • Horiz ABD -  Horizontal Abduction
    • Horiz ADD -  Horizontal Adduction
    • HP -  Hot Packs
    • HVGS -  High Voltage Galvantic Stimulation
    • Hx -  History

    I - 

    • I -  Independent
    • Inv -  Inversion
    • IR -  Internal Rotation
      • ITB -  Iliotibial Band
      • IV -  Inversion (Of The Ankle)

      K - 

      • KAFO -  Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis

      L - 

      • LAQ -  Long Arc Quad
      • LBQC -  Large Base Quad Cane (Also Known As A Wide Base Quad Cane (Wbqc))
      • LCL -  Lateral Collateral Ligament
      • LE -  Lower Extremity
      • LOA -  Level Of Assist
      • LP -  Leg Press
      • LTG -  Long Term Goals

      M - 

      • MCL -  Medial Collateral Ligament
      • MFR -  Myofascial Release
      • MHP -  Moist Hot Pack
      • Mm -  Muscle
      • MMT -  Manual Muscle Test
      • Mobs -  Mobilization

      N - 

      • NDT -  Neuro Developmental Technique (Also Known As Bobath Technique)
      • NWB -  Non Weight Bearing

      O - 

      • OKC -  Open Kinetic Chain
      • OOB -  Out Of Bed

      P - 

      • PCL -  Posterior Cruciate Ligament
      • PF -  Plantar Flexion
      • Pfin -  Paraffin Bath
      • PFS -  Patellofemoral Syndrome
      • Phono -  Phonophoresis
      • PMHx -  Past Medical History
      • PNF -  Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
      • PRO -  Pronation (Turning Your Wrist Palm Down)
      • PROM -  Passive Range Of Motion
      • PT -  Physical Therapist
      • Pt. - Patient
      • PTA -  Physical Therapy Assistant
      • PUW -  Pick Up Walker
      • PWB -  Partial Weight Bearing

      Q - 

      • Q -  Every
      • QD -  Every Day
      • QID -  Four Times A Day

      R - 

      • RC - Rotator Cuff
      • RD -  Radial Deviation (A Motion Of The Wrist)
      • RICE -  Rest,Ice,Compression,Elevation Rom
      • ROM - Range Of Motion
      • Rot -  Rotation
      • RW -  Rolling Walker
      • Rx -  Treatment

      S - 

      • S - Without (Sans)
      • SAQ -  Short Arc Quad
      • SB -  Side Bending
      • SBA -  Stand By Assist
      • SBQC -  Small Base Quad Cane (Also Known As A Narrow Base Quad Cane (Nbqc))
      • SC -  Straight Cane
      • SLR -  Straight Leg Raise
      • STM -  Soft Tissue Mobilization
      • SUP - Supination (Turning Your Wrist Palm Up)

      T - 

      • TENS -  Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation
      • THA -  Total Hip Arthroplasty
      • Ther Ex -  Therapeutic Exercise
      • TID -  Three Times A Day
      • TKA -  Total Knee Arthroplasty
      • TLSO -  Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis
      • TM -  Treadmill
      • Trxn -  Traction
      • TTWB -  Toe Touch Weight Bearing

      U - 

      • UD -  Ulnar Deviation (A Motion Of The Wrist)
      • UE -  Upper Extremity

      W - 

      • W/c -  Wheel Chair
      • WBAT -  Weight Bearing As Tolerated
      • WC -  Wheelchair
      • WFL -  Within Functional Limit
      • WNL -  Within Normal Limits
      • WW -  Wheeled Walker

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