Physical Therapy Abbreviations Commonly Used by PTs

 Physical Therapy Abbreviations Commonly Used by PTs

Physical therapists often use medical abbreviations in their note writing, and sometimes as a shorthand when speaking. To laypeople and those who aren't medical professionals, 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 and what they mean can help you determine what sort of techniques your PT may be using to help you fully recover.
Types of 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: These abbreviations are used for various types of devices to help you walk and move about. Crutches and canes are considered assistive devices.
Range of Motion Abbreviations: Range of motions refers to moving a joint or body part in its full available range. Sometimes, your doctor of PT will use abbreviations when referring to range of motion.
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.)

If you have access to your physical therapy and rehab notes and see something you do not understand, just ask your physical therapist. If your therapist uses a term or abbreviation you don't understand when talking to you, ask for an explanation.

Use this resource to review the most common abbreviations in physical therapy and their meanings.
Physical Therapy Abbreviations (A-Z)

50%WB: 50 Percent Weight Bearing


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: Bilateral
BID: Twice a Day
BKA: Below Knee Amputation


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


DB: Dumbbell
DF: Dorsiflexion
DF: Dorsiflexion (of the ankle)
DJD: Degenerative Disc Disease


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)


FIM score: Functional Independence Level
FLEX: Flexion (or simple a check mark is used to signify flexion)
FWB: Full Weight Bearing
Fx: Fracture


GHJ: Glenohumeral Joint


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 Galvanic Stimulation
Hx: History


I: Independent
Inv: Inversion
Ionto: Iontophoresis
IR: Internal Rotation
ITB: Iliotibial Band
IV: Inversion (of the ankle)


KAFO: Knee Ankle Foot Orthosis


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


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


NDT: Neuro Developmental Technique (also known as Bobath technique)
NMES: Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation
NWB: Non-Weight Bearing


OKC: Open Kinetic Chain
OOB: Out Of Bed


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: Every
QC: Quad Cane
QD: Every Day
QID: Four Times A Day


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: 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)
SW: Standard Walker


TB: Theraband
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


UBE: Upper Body Ergometer
UD: Ulnar Deviation (A motion of the wrist)
UE: Upper Extremity
US: Ultrasound


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

A Word From Verywell

Your physical therapist not only provides therapy but also wants to help educate you so you can take an active role in your rehabilitation. Understanding the basics of PT-related abbreviations can help you gain a fuller understanding of your rehab. As always, if you have any questions about your therapy, speak with your PT.

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