When visiting our office, you will become familiar with some of the more common terms when learning about how osteopathic / sports medicine works towards the healing process.

We hope that this glossary of terms will help support your partnership with Pursuit Sports Medicine. Knowledge helps you on your road to recovery!

Sports Medicine

Commonly, sports medicine is associated with elite athletes who are seen by orthopedic surgeons to get the athlete back onto the playing field. As it turns out, about 90% of these sports injuries don’t need to be treated surgically and the orthopedic surgeons caring for the elite athletes also see elderly patients with shoulder and knee arthritis. So, there are a lot of non-surgical treatments that can be done for the various sprains, strains of the ankle, knee, shoulder, elbow etc available for elite athletes, “weekend warriors” and grandparents alike.

There are two types of doctors involved in sports medicine: orthopedic surgeons who are trained in surgical solutions for approximately 10% of the cases, and primary care sports physicians who are trained in the non-surgical care of injuries of joints, muscles, tendons, and ligaments.

Osteopathic Theory

This concept focuses on the body’s ability to heal itself. The founder of osteopathy, Dr A.T. Still, MD, claimed that the role of the physician is to ‘find health’. He viewed the body as a self-regulating, self-healing organism that needs to be given an optimum environment in which to thrive. The goal of a physician who practices osteopathic medicine is to promote this optimum environment through various techniques such as regenerative injection techniques, and osteopathic manipulative medicine.

Tendinitis vs Tendinosis

Tendinitis is a generic term which implies that the problem involves ‘itis’ or inflammation. However, scientific study has shown that there are no inflammatory cells found in common ‘itis’ injuries such as a sprained elbow. Rather, these types of ailments are caused by a breakdown, a weakening, or an overused part of the body… not pain caused by inflammation.

Tendinosis is therefore a more accurate term to use when describing many physical issues which benefit from regenerative injection therapies. It means a state of disrepair, or a micro-injury of the tendon, where irregularities of the fibers of the tendon and ligament can be seen via ultrasound.


This is a treatment that stimulates the natural production of new connective tissue such as ligaments and tendons. Proliferation injection therapy, or prolotherapy, uses dextrose and an anesthetic to create a ‘controlled injury’ at the tender part of the body. The idea of this treatment is to stimulate the healing response of the body, which is triggered by the injections. Recent discoveries of prolotherapy have shown that this technique is not only able to restore damaged ligaments and tendons, but is able to repair damaged cartilage as well.

Kinetic Chain

Kinetic means ‘forces’ and chain means ‘a system that is linked together or connected’. The Kinetic Chain means that all components work together to manipulate human motion. In other words: your lower back pain may be caused by your sprained ankle! If one component of the kinetic chain is not functioning properly, it will affect other areas which impede freedom of movement. This term is commonly used in the physical therapy arena; in osteopathy it reinforces the concept of ‘structure and function are inter-dependent.’


Literally, this means ‘relating to or involving the muscles and the skeleton’. How this term is applied when treating patients lies in the idea that muscles and bones are inter-dependant – one affects the other and cannot be separated when working towards freedom of movement and recovery.

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