|Motion of joints|
Paired locations and directions
Anatomical terms of location and directions often come in pairs. Usually, the pairs are antonyms, like superior and inferior.
Proximal and distal
Proximal is a direction or location closer to the center of the body, or the beginning of a structure (think "proximity"). Distal is further from the center of the body or near the end of a structure (think "distant"). Example: the knee joint is formed where the proximal tibia meets the distal femur.
Superficial and deep
As you might expect, superficial structures are closer to the surface of a body and deep structures are further from the surface.
The superficial muscles of the neck are retracted, revealing the deeper muscles.
Transverse PET scan of abdomen. The cornea is a superficial structure (shown with cataracts).
Ipsilateral and contralateral
Ipsilateral refers to locations on the same side as a reference location. Contralateral means a structure on the other side of the body. Example: "Place a stitch contralaterally to the first."
Angiogram of the brain, showing contralateral arteries.
Anatomical terms of motion often come in pairs. Commonly the pairs are antonyms, representing opposite motions.
Flexion and extension
Flexion is a bending movement that decreases the angle between body parts. Extension is the opposite, a straightening movement.
Adduction and abduction
Adduction is a joint movement toward the centerline of the body (think "adhesive"). Abduction is a joint movement away from the body (think "abduct").
Medial and lateral rotation
Rotation is gyration along the long axis of the limb. Medial rotation of a joint turns a limb inward, toward the central axis of the body. Lateral rotation of a joint turns a limb outward, away from the central axis of the body. These motions are commonly used to diagnose joint problems.
The lateral rotation of the forearm is also referred to as "supination," and the medial rotation as "pronation."
Circumduction is a cone-shaped movement of a limb that includes flexion, abduction, extension, and adduction. Circumduction is commonly used to diagnose joint problems.
Anterior x-ray of a right hip implant.
Range of motion for hip
Range of motion is the maximum extent to which a joint can be moved. Providing an adequate ROM for the hip is a goal of hip implant procedures.
An adequate ROM is necessary for everyday activities such as sitting, climbing stairs, and tying shoelaces.
Knee: varus and valgus
A valgus condition occurs when the knees are medial to the line from the hip to the heel, commonly called knock-kneed. A varus condition is when the knees are lateral to the line from hips to heel, commonoly called bow-legged.
Mnemonic: v-AIR-us: air between the knees.
Three common, paired, joint motions are