By Prodyut Das

Physical Therapy Abbreviations

Physical therapy abbreviations are used in daily physical therapy documentations and charting specific to the field. Often these terms or abbreviations can be very much confusing to other health care professionals and students starting their training in physical therapy. While the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) does not have a standard list of physical therapy abbreviations, you may also see various abbreviations on a prescription for physical therapy from your doctor. 

Common Physical Therapy Abbreviations

  • 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
  • AODM: Adult-onset diabetes mellitus
  • ARDS: Adult respiratory distress syndrome
  • AROM: Active Range Of Motion
  • ASAP: As soon as possible

B

  • B: Bilateral
  • BID: Twice a Day
  • BKA: Below Knee Amputation
  • BLE: Both lower extremities
  • BM: Bowel movement
  • BUE: Both upper extremities

C

  • C: With
  • CABG: Coronary artery bypass graft
  • CCU: Coronary care unit
  • CHF: Congestive heart failure
  • CGA: Contact Guard Assist
  • CKC: Closed Kinetic Chain
  • CNS: Central nervous system
  • C/O: Complains of
  • Cont: Continue
  • COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
  • CP: Cerebral palsy
  • CPM: Continuous Passive Motion
  • CSF: Cerebral spinal fluid
  • CTx: Cervical Traction
  • CVA: Cerebral vascular accident

  • DB: Dumbbell
  • dc: Discontinued
  • D/C: Discharged
  • DF: Dorsiflexion
  • DIP: Distal interphalangeal joint
  • DDD: Degenerative disc disease
  • DJD: Degenerative joint disease
  • DNKA: Did not keep appointment
  • DOE: Dyspnea on exersion 
  • Dr: Doctor
  • Dsg: Dressing
  • DTR: Deep tendon reflex
  • DVT: Deep venous thrombosis
  • DX: Diagnosis

  • ECF: Extended care facility
  • EKG/ECG: Electrocardiogram
  • EMG: Electromyogram
  • ER: Emergency room
  • ER: External rotation
  • Estim or ES: Electrical Stimulation
  • etc: And so on
  • ETOH: Alcohol
  • EV: Eversion (of the ankle)
  • Ex: Exercise
  • EXT: Extension (or a slash mark is used to signify extension)

F

  • FIM score: Functional Independence Level score
  • FLEX: Flexion (or simple a check mark is used to signify flexion)
  • Ft: Feet
  • FWB: Full Weight Bearing
  • FWW: Front wheel walker
  • Fx: Fracture

  • GCS: Glasgow coma scale
  • GHJ: Glenohumeral Joint
  • GSH: Gun shot wound

  • H/o: History of
  • HA: Headache
  • HAb/HAd: Horizontal abduction/adduction
  • Hams: Hamstrings
  • HBP: High blood pressure
  • Hemi: Hemiplegia
  • HEP: Home Exercise Program
  • HNP: Herniated nucleus pulposus
  • HOB: Head of Bed
  • Horiz ABD: Horizontal Abduction
  • Horiz ADD: Horizontal Adduction
  • HP: Hot Packs
  • HR: Heart rate
  • HT: Hubbard tank
  • HTN: Hypertension
  • HVGS: High Voltage Galvanic Stimulation
  • Hx: History

I

  • I: Independent
  • ICP: Intracranial pressure
  • ICT: Intermittent cervical traction
  • IDDM: Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • Inv: Inversion
  • Ionto: Iontophoresis
  • IP: Interphalangeal
  • IR: Internal Rotation
  • ITB: Iliotibial Band
  • IV: Intravenous

J

  • JOMACl: judgement, orientation, memory, abstraction, and calculation
  • Jt: Joint
  • JW: Jumpwalker

K

  • KAFO: Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis

L

  • L: Left
  • Lat: Lateral
  • lat. bar: Latissimus dorsi bar
  • LAQ: Long Arc Quad
  • lb: pound
  • LBP: Low back pain
  • LBQC: Large Base Quad Cane (also known as a wide base quad cane [Wbqc])
  • LCL: Lateral Collateral Ligament
  • LE: Lower Extremity
  • lg: Large
  • LLB: Long leg brace
  • LLC: Long leg cast
  • LLE: Left lower extremity
  • LLL: Left lower lobe
  • LOA: Level of Assist
  • LOB: Loss of balance
  • LOC: Loss of consciousness
  • LP: Lumber Puncture 
  • LTG: Long Term Goals
  • LUE: Left upper extremity
  • LUL: Left upper lobe

M

  • Max: Maximum
  • MC: Metacarpal
  • MCA: Middle cerebral artery
  • MCP: Metacarpophalangeal
  • MCL: Medial collateral ligament
  • M.D: Muscular dystrophy
  • MFR: Myofascial release
  • MHP: Moist hot pack
  • MI: Myocardial infarct
  • Min: Minute
  • MMT: Manual muscle test
  • Mobs: Mobilization
  • Mod: Moderate
  • MRE: Manual resistive exercise
  • MTP: Metatarsophalangeal
  • MVA: Motor vehicle accident

N

  • N.: Nerve
  • N/A: Not applicable
  • NDT: Neuro Developmental Technique (also known as Bobath technique)
  • neg: Negative
  • Neurosurg.: Neurosurgery
  • NIDDM: non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus
  • NMES: Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation
  • NWB: Non-Weight Bearing

O

  • 0: None
  • O2: Oxygen
  • obs: Observation
  • OKC: Open Kinetic Chain
  • OOB: Out Of Bed
  • O.P: Outpatient
  • OR: Operating room
  • ORIF: Open reduction internal fixation
  • Ortho: Orthopedics
  • OT: Occupational therapy
  • Ox3: Oriented to person, place, and time

P

  • p: After or post
  • P-A: Posterior-anterior
  • Para: Paraplegic
  • PCL: Posterior cruciate ligament
  • PE: Pulmonary embolism
  • Peds: Pediatrics
  • PF: Plantar Flexion
  • Pfin: Paraffin Bath
  • PFS: Patellofemoral syndrome
  • Phono: Phonophoresis
  • PICU: Pediatric incentive care unit
  • PIJ: Proximal interphalangeal joint
  • PMHx: Past Medical History
  • PNF: Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation
  • PRE: Progressive resistive exercise
  • PRO: Pronation (turning your wrist palm down)
  • PROM: Passive Range of Motion
  • Prox: Proximal
  • Psych: Psychiatry
  • PT: Physical Therapist
  • Pt.: Patient
  • PTA: Physical Therapy Assistant
  • PTB: Patellar tendon bearing
  • PUW: Pick Up Walker
  • PWB: Partial Weight Bearing

Q

  • Q: Every
  • QC: Quad Cane
  • QD: Every Day
  • QEE: Quadriceps extension exercises
  • QID: Four Times A Day
  • Quad: Quadriplegia
  • Quads: Quadriceps

R

  • R: Right
  • RAM: Rapid alternating movements
  • Reps: Repititions
  • RC: Rotator Cuff
  • RD: Radial Deviation (a motion of the wrist)
  • RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation Rom
  • RLE: Right lower extremity
  • RLL: Right lower lobe
  • RM: Repeated movements
  • RN: Registered nurse
  • R/O: Rule out
  • ROM: Range of Motion
  • Rot: Rotation
  • RUE: Right upper extremity
  • RW: Rolling Walker
  • Rx: Treatment

S

  • S: Supervision
  • 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
  • SCI: Spinal cord injury
  • SCTx: Static cervical traction
  • Sec: second
  • Sh: Shoulder
  • SICU: Surgical intensive care unit
  • SLB: Short leg brace
  • SLR: Straight Leg Raise
  • SOAP: subjective/objective/assessment/plan
  • SOB: Shortness of breath
  • S/P: Status post
  • ST: Speech therapy
  • Stat: Immediately 
  • STG: Short term goals
  • STM: Soft Tissue Mobilization
  • SUP: Supination (turning your wrist palm up)
  • Surg: Surgery
  • SW: Standard Walker

References For Physical Therapy Abbreviations

  • The Physical Therapist's Guide to Health Care -edited by Kathleen A. Curtis
  • WebPT- The Most Common Physical Therapy Abbreviations
  • Abbreviation image used from Wikimedia Commons by author - Acronimous

T

  • T: Temperature
  • TB: Theraband
  • TBI: Traumatic brain injury
  • TBSA: Total body surface area
  • TENS: Transcutaneous Electrical Neuromuscular Stimulation
  • Temp: Temperature
  • THA: Total Hip Arthroplasty
  • Ther Ex: Therapeutic Exercise
  • TIA: Transient ischemic attack
  • TID: Three Times a Day
  • TKA: Total Knee Arthroplasty
  • TLSO: Thoracic Lumbar Sacral Orthosis
  • TM: Treadmill
  • TMJ: Temperomandibular joint
  • Trxn: Traction
  • TT: Tilt table
  • TTWB: Toe Touch Weight Bearing
  • Tx: Treatment

U

  • UBE: Upper Body Ergometer
  • UD: Ulnar Deviation (A motion of the wrist)
  • UE: Upper Extremity
  • US: Ultrasound
  • UTI: Urinary tract infection
  • UV: Ultraviolet

W

  • WB: Weight bearing
  • WBAT: Weight Bearing As Tolerated
  • W/C: Wheelchair
  • WFL: Within Functional Limit
  • WHO: Wrist hand orthosis
  • WK: Week
  • WNL: Within Normal Limits
  • WP: Whirlpool
  • Wt: weight
  • WW: Wheeled Walker

Y

  • Y.O: Year old

Symbols used in Physical Therapy Abbreviations

  • - Negative
  • + Positive
  • R Right
  • L Left
  • # Pound
  • I Independent
  • @ at
  • B Both, bilateral
  • 1 Primary
  • 2 Secondary
  • c With
  • S Without
  • X Times
  • >< Greater than/less than
  • (( Increase/decrease
  • // parallel bars
  • 4xd Four times a day

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