Bibliography Demystifying commonly used phrases you might hear from fellow athletes or GPs



The anterior cruciate ligament is found in your knee and connects the thigh bone to the shin bone. Injury occurs if you over-extend or twist your leg, It is an incredibly common sports injury, accounting for around 40% of all sports injuries, according to the NHS.


The inflammation, swelling or tenderness of the “bursa”, a fluid-filled sac found over the joints – commonly the shoulder, elbow, hip or knee, but also the ankle, foot or Achilles tendon (see also “Tendonitis”).


Concerned with preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions in the feet or lower limbs, chiropodists treat a range of ailments including corns, callouses, ingrown toenails and sports injuries.


A chiropractor targets, prevents and treats disorders caused by mechanical musculoskeletal (see “Musculoskeletal”) disorders or the misalignment of joints. Chiropractors use their hands to manipulate bones, muscles and joints.

Frozen shoulder

Pain or stiffness in the shoulder that occurs when the capsule that surrounds the shoulder joint becomes swollen and thickened. The condition can affect day-to-day activities and become more severe over time.

Housemaid’s knee

See “Bursitis”. So called because it is thought to be caused by excessive kneeling.


A severe, recurrent headache or throbbing, often felt on one side of the head. Can be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or disturbed vision. Affects one in every five women and one in every 15 men.

Muscle sprain

A common injury that affects the muscles and ligaments (tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones or cartilage) and occurs when ligaments are stretched, twisted or torn. Pain is felt in the area and swelling or bruising often occurs.

Muscle strain

Similar to a sprain, but this time occurring when the muscle fibres stretch or tear. Can often affect the legs (hamstring) and back (lumbar). Symptoms include swelling, bruising, spasms and weakness of the affected muscle.


Refers to a variety of conditions affecting the muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones and joints.


An osteopath is a practitioner of osteopathy, a complementary medicine that involves the manipulation, stretching and massage of the joints and muscles. It is commonly used to treat pain in the back, neck and shoulder, as well as sports injuries and arthritis.


A qualified practitioner who can help restore movement to an afflicted area affected by injury, illness or disability.

Plantar fasciitis

Heel pain caused by the damage, thickening or inflammation of the ligament at the base of the heel bone. Can be caused by physical activities like running or dancing, or gradual wear and tear (usually in adults over the age of 40).


A podiatrist is a qualified health care professional who treats a range of ailments affecting the feet and lower limbs – for example, athlete’s foot, bunions, ingrown toenails and sports injuries. Podiatrists can also advise you on the correct footwear and provide orthotics if you have any arch or heel pain.

Prolapsed disc

Also known as a slipped disc, this is when the circular pad of connective tissue between the vertebrae (known as the disc) becomes displaced and presses on nearby nerves (often the sciatic nerve – see “Sciatica”). Symptoms include back and neck pain, numbness and tingling.


Caused by the compression or irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the pelvis to the feet, sciatica is pain is felt in the back, hips, buttocks and legs. Certain exercises can help alleviate the symptoms.

Shin splints

A common injury among runners, shin splints are characterised by pain running down the shin (the bone running down the front of the lower leg). Often improves following rest and symptoms can be treating by icing the affected area.

Slipped disc

See "Prolapsed disc".


A tendon is a cord of fibrous tissues that connects muscles to bones. Tendonitis or tendon injuries are usually defined as stiffness, swelling or weakness in the affected area. A lump can sometimes develop on the tendon. Typical tendon injuries include the Achilles tendinopathy, golfer’s elbow, patellar tendonitis and tennis elbow.