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Anatomic Position and Terms of Reference


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anatomic; anatomical position
a term of reference that health professionals use when noting body planes, positions, or directions: the person is assumed to be standing upright (erect), facing forward, feet pointed forward and slig
body planes
reference planes for indicating the location or direction of body parts
coronal plane
vertical division of the body into front (anterior) and back (posterior) portions
frontal plane
vertical division of the body into front (anterior) and back (posterior) portions
sagittal plane
vertical division of the body into right and left portions
transverse plane
horizontal division of the body into upper and lower portions
anterior (A)
front of the body
ventral
front of the body
posterior (P)
back of the body
dorsal
back of the body
anterior-posterior (AP)
from front to back, as in reference to the direction of an x-ray beam
posterior-anterior (PA)
from back to front, as in reference to the direction of an x-ray beam
superior
situated above another structure, toward the head
cephalic
situated above another structure, toward the head
inferior
situated below another structure, away from the head
caudal
situated below another structure, away from the head
proximal
toward the beginning or origin of a structure; for example, the proximal aspect of the femur (thigh bone) is the area closest to where it attaches to the hip
distal
away from the beginning or origin of a structure; for example, the distal aspect of the femur (thigh bone) is the area at the end of the bone near the knee
medial
toward the middle (midline)
lateral
toward the side
axis
the imaginary line that runs through the center of the body or a body part
erect
normal standing point
decubitus
lying down, especially in a bed; lateral decubitus is lying on the side
prone
lying face down and flat
recumbent
lying down
supine
horizontal recumbent; lying flat on the back ("on the spine")
flexion
bending at the joint so that the angle between the bones is decreased
extension
straightening at the joint so that the angle between the bones is increased
abduction
movement away from the body
adduction
movement toward the body
rotation
circular movement around an axis
eversion
turning outward (e.g. foot)
inversion
turning inward (e.g. foot)
supination
turning of the palmar surface (palm of the hand) or plantar surface (sole of the foot) upward or forward
pronation
turning of the palmar surface (palm of the hand) or plantar surface (sole of the foot) downward or backward
dorsiflexion
bending of the foot or the toes upward
plantar flexion
bending of the sole of the foot by curling the toes toward the ground
range of motion (ROM)
total motion possible in a joint, described by the terms related to body movements (e.g. ability to flex, extend, abduct, or adduct); measured in degrees
goniometer
istrument used to measure joint angles