Physical therapy library

Acute Pain

Typically sudden onset in nature and does not last longer than 6 months

Chronic Pain

Untreated or unresolved acute pain, lasting longer than 6 months after the initial injury/trauma, pain that may appear to have no mechanism

Ligament Sprain

Ligaments are tough, elastic bands that connect bone to bone. An injury to the ligament is called a sprain. A sprain takes place due to excessive ligament stretching that may result in ligament rupture.

Muscle Strain

A muscle strain is a muscle pull or in more severe cases a muscle tear. Strains can result from excessive muscle pressure from daily tasks, sport activities, sudden movement, or heavy lifting.


A tendon is a form of connective tissue that connects muscles to bones. The tendon becomes inflamed and irritated and muscle activation, repetitive movement results in further aggravation.


Referred leg pain, numbness or tingling that can be associated with leg weakness, symptoms usually involve one leg. Sciatica takes place due to the compression of the sciatic nerve. This condition is a symptom of another medical problem and is not the cause of the leg pain.

Lumbar Spine Stenosis

Narrowing of the spinal cord canal in the lower back region that results in compression of the nerve roots due to the thickening and degeneration of the vertebral joints and ligaments. Symptoms of lumbar spine region stenosis are excruciating back and leg pain, trouble walking, leg numbness, leg weakness, and bowel and bladder issues.

Piriformis Syndrome

Tightness of the piriformis muscle results in sciatic nerve compression. This may cause buttocks pain and back of the leg referral symptoms along the sciatic nerve distribution.

Rotator Cuff Tear

Tear of one or more of the tendons of the four muscles that make up the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff consists of the supraspinatus, infraspinatus, subscapularis and teres minor muscles. These tears may result in excruciating shoulder pain and upper arm referral symptoms results in inability to sleep on the involved side and difficulty with lifting arm overhead and away from the body.

Shoulder Impingement

Involves irritation of the rotator cuff tendons due to excessive rubbing forces caused by faulty mechanics of the shoulder blade and the head of the humerus. Chronic and severe cases of impingement can result in rotator cuff tears.

Labral Tear

A labrum is a cartilage ring that surrounds the outside of both the shoulder and hip joints. A torn labrum may result from repetitive trauma or traction injuries. Individuals with labral tears have pain in front and/or deep inside the shoulder/hip joint, catching and grinding inside the joint is also reported.

Meniscus Tear

A tear of the fibrocartilage that serves as a shock absorber in the knee region. This type of tear can result from walking or squatting or traumatic sport injury.


Is a degenerative process where the cartilage or cushion at the end of long bones is broken down, this results in bone-on-bone contact, which causes joint pain. This form of arthritis is found in weight bearing joints.

Plantar Fasciitis

Plantar fasciitis is a condition in which the plantar fascia or superficial connective tissue layer under the foot that protects the foot muscles is irritated and swollen. The individual presents with complaint of bottom of the foot and heel pain. Pain is typically worst in the morning with the first initial step.

Disc Herniation

Discs are cushion/shock absorber type structures that sit between the vertebrae in the spine. A disc herniation takes place when a part of the disc pushes out of its original location between two vertebrae and starts applying a pinch off pressure on spinal nerves. A disc herniation can take place as a result of a fall or accident.


Radiculopathy is a condition in which the nerve root is compressed where it exits the spinal column. The nerve root compression can result in referred pain, muscle weakness, numbness, and in worst cases difficulty controlling certain muscles and moving the specific limb involved.

Trigger Points

Trigger points are small palpable knots or muscle fiber adhesions in muscle. When these spots are compressed there can be localized pain symptoms, referred pain to another area, or a local spot twitch or contraction. The goal of physical therapy is to remove the localized spot tightness and eliminate the trigger point which reproduces pain symptoms.


A term used to describe walking.
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