Physiotherapy abbreviations commonly used by nursing staff.


Physical therapists often use medical abbreviations in their notes and sometimes as shorthand notes. For non-medical and non-professional professionals, these abbreviations and abbreviated notations can often be confusing.

Below is a list of commonly used abbreviations for physical therapy. Although the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) does not have a standardized list of abbreviations for physical therapy treatments, you may also see various abbreviations in physical therapy prescriptions issued by your healthcare provider.

Examining these abbreviations and their meanings can help you determine what methods your physical practitioner can use to make a full recovery.

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Types of abbreviations

Abbreviations are used in physical therapy for many reasons:

  • Weight reductions : When working with weight restrictions, you may need to walk with an assistive device, such as a cane, crutches, or a walker. Your physical therapist can show you how to use the assistive device and make sure it fits your size.
  • Assistive device abbreviations : These abbreviations are used to refer to the different types of devices that help you walk and move. Crutches and canes are considered assistive devices .
  • Range of motion abbreviations : Range of motion refers to the movement of a joint or part of the body throughout the available range. Sometimes your physical education provider will use abbreviations to refer to range of motion.
  • Therapeutic agent abbreviations : These treatments are used to improve circulation, muscle contraction, and inflammation.
  • Simulator contractions . Your physical therapist can use a variety of contractions in his clinic. For example, some Mackenzie-trained physical therapists use the term REIL to refer to push-up exercises. (REIL means re-expansion while lying down).

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

Physical Therapy Abbreviations (AZ)

Use this resource to see the most common contractions in physical therapy and what they mean:


  • 50% WB: 50% loading weight



  • B: double-sided
  • BET: twice a day
  • BKA: below knee amputation




  • ER: external rotation
  • Estim or ES: Electrical stimulation
  • EV: Eversion (ankle)
  • Example: exercise.
  • EXT: extension (or a forward slash is used to indicate an extension)



  • GHJ: shoulder joint


  • H / o: History
  • HEP: Home Exercise Program
  • HOB: headboard
  • Horizontal ABD: horizontal abduction
  • Horiz ADD: horizontal casting
  • HP: Hot Packs
  • HVGS – High Voltage Galvanic Stimulation
  • Hx: History

I am


  • KAFO: Knee and Ankle Support


  • LAQ: Longbow Quadrilateral
  • LBQC: Large Base Reed (also known as Wide Base – WBQC).
  • LCL: lateral collateral ligament
  • EU: lower limb.
  • LOA: level of assistance
  • LP: acute lumbar puncture
  • LTG: long-term goals




  • OKC: open kinetic chain
  • OOB: Get out of bed


  • PCL: posterior cruciate ligament .
  • FP: plantar flexion
  • Pfin: Paraffin bath
  • PFS: patellofemoral syndrome
  • Phono: phonophoresis
  • PMHx: medical history
  • PNF: proprioceptive neuromuscular relief
  • PROS: pronation
  • PROM: passive range of motion
  • PT: physiotherapist
  • Pt .: Patient
  • PTA: Physical Therapist Assistant
  • PUW: Pick up walker
  • PWB: partial load capacity


  • Q: all
  • Quality control: quad cane
  • QD: every day
  • QID: four times a day



  • S: Without (without)
  • SAQ: short arc quadrilateral
  • SB: side bend
  • SBA: Assistance pending
  • SBQC: Small Base Cane (also known as Narrow Base Cane – NBQC).
  • SC: straight cane
  • SLR: Straight Leg Raise
  • STM: soft tissue mobilization
  • SUP: supination
  • SW: Standard walker




  • W / c: wheelchair
  • WBAT: Allowable load.
  • Toilet: wheelchair
  • WFL: within functionality
  • WNL: within normal limits
  • WW: Walkers on wheels

Get the word of drug information

Your physical therapist not only provides therapy, but wants to help train you so that you can actively participate in rehabilitation. Understanding the basics of PT-related contractions can help you better understand your rehabilitation. As always, if you have any questions about your therapy, please speak with your PT.

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