Common Ergonomic Terminology

Abduct—The movement of an arm or a leg away from the body
Adduct—The movement of an arm or a leg toward the body
Anterior—Referring to the front of the body
Contact Pressure—Pressure placed on a body part when it is being supported by a solid surface or that solid surface is pressing against an external body area
Dorsal—Referring to the back or posterior
Elbow Extension—When an arm is opened toward a straight position with minimal bend in the elbow
Epicondylitis—The onset of pain, on the outside (lateral) of the elbow, is usually gradual with tenderness felt on or below the joint's bony prominence. Movements such as gripping, lifting and carrying tend to be troublesome
Ergonomist—A professionally trained individual who conducts an ergonomic evaluation

Force Sensors—Small pads that can be connected to a simple volt meter to measure the amount of force an individual uses as they press on a solid surface. The typical applications are for measuring finger pressure on a keyboard or mouse or calculator.

Foot Controlled Movement—Natural movement using feet on the floor, without the risk of unatural or awkward reaching

Goniometer—An instrument that measures angles
Hypermobility—When a joint easily moves beyond the normal range expected for a particular joint; also known as 'joint hyperlaxity'
Hypothenar Pad—The fleshy mass at the medial (in)side of the palm of the human hand; also called antithenar
Kyphosis—Rearward (outward) curvature of any part of the spine (usually thoracic)
Lordosis—Forward (inward) curvature of any part of the spine (usually lumbar)
Mousing—Using a mouse device
Neutral Posture—When the body part is in its most relaxed position
Negative Tilt—Refers to a keyboard tray that is positioned with the back edge lower than the front edge
Radiculopathy—When one or more nerves do not work properly as the result of a problem at or near the root of the nerve, along the spine. This can result in pain, weakness, numbness, or difficulty controlling certain muscles. (Although caused near the spine, the pain or other symptoms may manifest in an extremity through a process called referred pain. For example, a nerve root impingement in the neck can produce pain and weakness in the forearm, or aching in the legs as a consequence of lower back problems.)
Radial Deviation—When the hand is bent inward at the wrist, toward the thumb
Recovery Time—A period of time wherein muscles and tendons that were under strain or exertion, should be rest and given time to heal
Ulnar Deviation—When the hand is bent outward at the wrist, toward the little finger
Sciatica—A common type of pain (burning, stinging and/or numbing) affecting the sciatic nerve, a large nerve extending from the lower back down the back of each leg
Shoulder Abduction—Moving the arm away (outward) from the torso, laterally.
Shoulder Adduction—Moving the arm across (in front of) the torso, laterally.
Shoulder Flexion—When the shoulder is elevated above a neutral posture.
Static Posture—A body position that is fixed over time, with muscle contraction but without motion
Thenar Pad—Palm of the hand beneath the thumb
Volar—Referring to the palm of the hand or the soul of the foot
Wrist Extension—When the hand is bent back (upward) at the wrist
Wrist Flexion—When the hand is bent forward (downward) at the wrist

Associations