World Confederation for Physical Therapy (WCPT) Glossary

The WCPT Glossary has been developed to support WCPT’s work on policies, guidelines and other resources (eg database of experts, common data set), to ensure consistency in terminology and to aid international interpretation. It has also been developed as a resource for member organisations, regions and subgroups to use. WCPT is encouraging the use of the international terms where applicable but also recognises that not all terms are relevant at a national level. The glossary is not a policy document on its own, but terms are added to WCPT's policy statements.

Terms have been fully referenced to original sources. Where terms have been developed by WCPT they should be referenced to the WCPT Glossary:

World Confederation for Physical Therapy. WCPT Glossary: Terms used in WCPT’s policies and resources. London, UK: WCPT; 2013.

The glossary is not intended to be an exhaustive A-Z of terms used in physical therapy.

The European Region of WCPT has developed an Annex to the WCPT glossary with additional terms used in their documents and policy work that are not already included in the WCPT glossary, along with some explanatory notes that apply in the region to terms contained in the main WCPT glossary.

Updates: periodic reviews of the glossary will take place as work is undertaken. Minor amendments and additions will be made to the online version throughout the year and the pdf download updated. Member organisations, regions and subgroups can suggest amendments and terms for inclusion in the glossary where they are internationally applicable. Please send suggestions and comments to