Physiotherapy Lexicon and Definitions

This page contains health and physiotherapy related terms with their brief definitions. The page will be updated frequently and regularly with new terms and definitions.


Co-ordinationability to execute smooth, accurate, controlled motor responses or movements
Agilityability to rapidly and smoothly initiate, stop, or modify movement while maintaining postural control
Dexteritysmooth, accurate and skillful use of fingers motions during fine motor tasks
Intralimb coordinationcoordinated movements occurring within a single limb
Ataxiamost common term to describe motor coordination impairments of cerebellar pathology. It is characterized as a difficulty in movement initiation as well as impaired rate, rhythm, timing and coordination of motor responses.
Astheniageneralized muscle weakness. Linked to cerebellar lesions
Asynergiainability to execute motor response in a coordinated fashion to produce complex movement patterns
Dysarthriadisorder of motor component of speech articulation. Characterized by scanning speech with prolonged syllables, inappropriate pauses, slow, slurred and hesitant speech. No continuation or melody in a speech. Absence of a sentence, one word a t a time type. Cerebellar lesion.
Hypotoniadecreased muscle tone, diminished resistance to movement
Hypertoniaincreased muscle tone, increased resistance to passive movement
Dysmetriainability to estimate the distance or required range of movement to reach an object or to complete the required task. Hypermetria – overestimation; Hypometria – underestimation
Dysdiadochokinesiainability to perform rapid alternating movements
Tremorinvoluntary, rhythmic, oscillatory movements due to involuntary alternate contractions of opposing muscles.
–intention (kinetic)–tremor during voluntary movements which increases when limb nears the target. It may be absent or reduced at rest
–Postural (static)–tremor during upright posture or of the limb held static against gravity
–Resttremor at rest
Akinesiainability to initiate movement, fixed postures
Bradykinesiareduced, slow, decreased amplitude and velocity of voluntary motor response
Athetosisslow, involuntary, writhing, twisting, “worm like” movements, frequently greater involvement in distal upper extremities. Basal ganglia lesions
Bradykinesiareduced amplitude and velocity of movements
Choreajerky movements including multiple joints which are involuntary, rapid and irregular. Common in upper extremities. Linked to basal ganglia lesions
Choreoathetosismovement disorder with features of both chorea and athetosis
Hemiballismussudden, violent, large amplitude movement of both upper and lower extremity of one side of the body
Dystoniasustained involuntary contractions of muscles (both agonists and antagonists)

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