[BLOG POST] Common Physical Therapy Abbreviations

When Physical Therapists document the progress of a patient, it’s common for abbreviations to be made within the notes. Rules vary depending on your facility, but it’s common to use physical therapy abbreviations such as NWB (non weight bearing) or AD (assistive device).

While the APTA does not endorse a standard set of physical therapy abbreviations (maybe it should…) you can find plenty of resources that share common words that are shortened by PTs. This list is not all inclusive or a ‘standard’ but it gives you an idea of what is commonly being used.

For student PT’s who are just starting in the clinic, it’s great to review this list in case you run into some language in the documentation that you’re not familiar seeing.

Common Physical Therapy Abbreviations

AAROM Active Assistive Range of Motion

ABD        Abduction

ADD        Adduction

(A)      assist

AD       assistive device

Amb.   ambulate, ambulated

Ant      Anterior

ā          before

abd.     abduction

ACL     anterior cruciate ligament

ADL’s activities of daily living

Add.    adduction

AFO     ankle foot orthosis

@        at

AKA     above knee amputee

ALS      Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

amb    ambulate

Appt.   appointment

AROM             active range of motion

As tol   As tolerated

A/P     Anterior Posterior

(B)       Bilateral

B/L      Bilateral

BAPS   Biomechanical Ankle Platform System

bed mob. bed mobility

bk         back

BKA     below knee amputation

BID      Twice a day

BIW     bi-weekly, twice weekly

BOS     Base of support

BP       Blood pressure

bpm    Beats per minute

Bwd    Backward

CA       Cancer

cerv.    cervical

CC       Chief Complaint

CF        Cystic Fibrosis

CGA     Contact Guard Assist

CHF     Congestive Heart Failure

CHI      closed head injury

Cont.   continue

COTA  certifi ed occupational therapy assistant

COPD  Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

C/o      Complains of

COG     Center of gravity

Cont    Continue

CP       coldpack, cerebral palsy

CPM    Continuous passive motion

C/S      cervical spine

CVA     Cerebral Vascular Accident

CVD     Cardio-Vascular Disease

CRPS   Complex Regional Pain Syndrome

CP       Cerebral Palsy

CTS     Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Cx.       cancel, cancellation

dep., D      dependent

Dexa   Dexamethazone

DC       discharge, discontinue

D/C     Discharge

DDD    Degenerative Disc Disease

DF       dorsiflexion

Diag    Diagonal

DIP      Distal Interphalangeal Joint

DJD     Degenerative Joint Disease

DM      Diabetes Mellitus

DMD   Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy

DME    durable medical equipment

DOB    Date of birth

DOI     Date of injury

DOS     Date of surgery

DVT     Deep Vein Thrombosis

Dx        Diagnosis

Eval.    evaluation eversion

Ev.       eversion

Equip.   equipment

ER       Emergency Room

E-stim    Electrical Stimulation

EOB     Edge of bed

Ex.        exercise

Ext.      extension

Ext. rot., ER     external rotation

freq       frequency

F,  3/5  fair (in reference to manual muscle testing)

FES      Functional Electrical Stimulation

Flex.    flexion

FCR     Flexor Carpi Radialis

FCU     Flexor Carpi Ulnaris

F/u      Follow up

FWW   Front wheeled walker

FWB    full weight bearing

fwd       forward

Fx.        fracture

GH       Gleno-Humeral

Gt.        Trng. gait training

G, 4/5    good (in reference to manual muscle testing)

GMT    gross muscle test

HA       Headache

Hemi. hemiplegia, hemiparesis

HEP     home exercise program

HHA    home health aide

HKAFO hip knee ankle foot orthosis

HOB    Head of bed

Hor      Horizontal

HP       hot pack

H/S     Hamstring

HNP    Herniated Nucleus Pulposus

HTN    Hypertension

HVGS   high voltage galvanic stimulation

HX       history

H/o     History of

I ,         Indep independent

IDDM  insuline dependent diabetes mellitus

IE        initial evaluation

IFC      interferential current

IMS     intramuscular stimulation

Inf       Inferior

Int. rot., IR   internal rotation

Inv.      inversion

Ionto   Iontophoresis

Isom    isometric

ITB      Ilio-tibial Band

Jt         Joint

KAFO    Knee ankle foot orthosis

L , L, Lt.    left

LAQ     long arc quad (exercise.)

Lat        Lateral

Lats      Latissimus Dorsi

LBP      low back pain

LB         lower body

LBQC   large base quad cane

LCL      Lateral Collateral Ligament

LE        lower extremity

LQ       lower quadrant

LTG     long term goal

L/S      Lumbar Spine

Max     Maximum

MCL    Medial Collateral Ligament

MCP    Metacarpophalangeal Joint

Med     Medial

MDL    moderately limited

MENS microcurrent electrical nerve stimulator

MFR    myofacial release

MI       Myocardial Infarction

Min     Minimum

M/L     Medial Lateral

MFR    Myofascial Release

MHP    Moist Hot Pack

MKL    markedly limited

mm.     muscle

MMT   manual muscle test

MNL    minimally limited

Mob    Mobilization

mod    Moderate

MS       Multiple Sclerosis

MSW   medical social worker

MTP    Metatarsophalangeal Joint

MVA    Motor Vehicle Accident

Max.    maximal

N, .5/5  normal (re: muscle strength)

NAGS     Natural Apophyseal Glides

NBQC     Narrow Based Quad Cane

NCV       nerve conduction velocity

NIDDM non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus

N/T     numbness and tingling or not tested

NF       No Fault

NMR    Neuromuscular re-education

NWB   non-weight bearing

NS       No Show

OA       Osteoarthritis

OOB    Out of bed

OT       occupational therapy/therapist

OTR     registered occupational therapist

p  after

PBall   Physio-Ball

PD       Parkinson’s Disease

P, 2/5      poor (re: muscle strength)

Pec          Pectoral / Pectoralis

PCL         Posterior Cruciate Ligament

PIP          Proximal Interphalangeal Jt

PF            plantar fl exion

PMH       past medical history

Pn           pain

PNF        Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation

POC     plan of care

P/A     Posterior Anterior

PRE     progressive resistive exercises

Post     Posterior

Prec.    Precautions

Prep.   preparation

Prox    Proximal

Pron    Pronation

Phono Phonophoresis

PRN     As needed

Pt.        patient

PT       physical therapy/therapist

PTA     physical therapist assistant

P/u      Push up

PVD     Peripheral Vascular Disease

PWB    partial weight bearing

Quad   Quadriceps

QS       Quadriceps Set

RA       Rheumatoid Arthritis

R , R, rt right

Re        recheck

Rec’d   received

Rehab. rehabilitation

Reps.   repetitions

Req/d. required

RGO     reciprocating gait orthosis

ROM    Range of Motion

Rot.      rotation

r/o      Rule out

RSD     Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy

RTC     Rotator Cuff

RTW    Return to work

Rx.       treatment

RW      Rolling Walker

SAQ     short arc quad (exercise)

SB        Sidebend

SBA     standby assist

SBQC   small base quad cane

SCI       spinal cord injury

Script   Prescription

SI, SIJ  sacroiliac joint

Sh        shoulder

S/L      Sidelying

SLP      speech-language pathologist

SLR      Straight Leg Raise

SNAGS Sustained Natural Apophyseal Glides

SOB     Shortness of Breath

S/p      Status post

SPC     Single point cane

SPT     student P.T.

SPTA   student P.T.A.

ST        speech therapy

STG     short term goals

STM    Soft Tissue Mobilization

(S)       Supervision

Sup     Supination or Superior

SW      Standard Walker

T-Band Theraband

T, 1/5 trace (re: muscle strength)

TA         Therapeutic Activities

TBI        Traumatic Brain Injury

TENS    transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulator

THA      total hip arthroplasty

THR      total hip replacement

TIW      three times per week

THA     Total Hip Arthroplasty

THR     Total Hip Replacement

Ther Ex Therapeutic Exercise

TIA      Transient Ischemic Attack

TKA     total knee arthroplasty

TKR     total knee replacement

TLSO   Thoracolumbosacal orthotic

TM      treadmill

TMJ     Temporomandibular Joint

Tol       Tolerated

TTWB   Toe Touch Weight Bearing

T/S      Thoracic Spine

Tx        Traction

UB       upper body

UBE     Upper Body Ergometer

UE       upper extremity

UQ       upper quadrant

US       ultrasound

UV       ultraviolet

VC       verbal cues

VIC      Verbalized informed consent

W/cm2 watts per centimeter squared

WB      weight bearing

WBQC    Wide based quad cane

WBAT     weight bearing as tolerated

W/C    Wheelchair

WFL    within functional limits

WNL    within normal limits

y/o      Years old

// Bars Parallel Bars

4WW Four wheeled walker

s          without

c          with

1°        primary

2°        secondary

approx. approximately


(3 dots in a triangle) therefore

(Triangle)         change

=          equals

Z, 0/5 zero (re: muscle strength)

<          Less Than

         Greater Than

1:1      One to one

‘           Foot or Feet

‘’          Inches


↑        Up, increased

↓        Down, decreased

√        Flexion

∕            Extension

↔        To and from

Do you see any common abbreviations that have been left out? Let us know in the comments and we’ll add them.

Source: Common Physical Therapy Abbreviations



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