Anatomical MovementCredit:

Have you heard of the term circumduction, supination and plantar flexion? Have you wonder what that means? These are terms of movements used by medical professionals to address the type and characteristic of movement. Bones are able to move at the joints that’s why it’s fitting to associate the terms of movements to the joints and not to the bones.

Extension - Anatomical MovementCredit:


It might sound too technical but the literally it only means to straighten it. Most joints are in relaxed extension position or neutral position when talking about anatomical position. With reference to anatomical position, extension movements are based on the sagittal plane. It increases the angle at the joints. Extension at the ankle and wrist joints is called dorsiflexion.

Flexion - Anatomical MovementCredit:


The literal translation of this is to bend or to decrease the angle of the joint. Flexion is the counterpart of extension and is also done with respect to the sagittal plane. Flexion of the ankle joint is referred to as plantar flexion. An example of this type of movement is the flexion of the hip or shoulder moves the limb forward.

Adduction - Anatomical MovementCredit:


Adduction is the movement with reference to the imaginary center line of the body or limb and the movements are done in front of the body. With relevance to anatomical position, movements of adduction are directed in the coronal plane. Bringing the knees together are examples of adduction.

Abduction - Anatomical MovementCredit:


It means to be away or the movement of a bone away from the midline of the body. This is the counterpart of adduction and movements also are directed in the coronal plane. Radial deviation is the term used when abducting the wrist.

Circumduction - Anatomical MovementCredit:


To simply put it, it means a circular motion. This type of movement is permitted by the ball and socket joint, saddle and condylar joint. This movement is actually a combination of four movements done in sequence. These movements are flexion, abduction, extension and adduction. Doing a windmill action with the arms is an example of a circumduction movement.

Rotation - Anatomical MovementCredit:


Rotation is a twisting motion with reference to the transverse plane and the bone’s axis. Rotation can be further subdivided into two types, name internal rotation and external rotation. Internal rotation is also termed as medial rotation which is the rotation towards the body. External rotation or lateral rotation is the rotation away from the body.

Supination - Anatomical MovementCredit:


Supination is somewhat similar to external rotation since it is defined as the external rotation of the radiohumeral joint. If the forearms are involved, it is turned upwards or in a forward direction. If the foot is involved, supination involves lifting the medial aspect of the foot.

Pronation - Anatomical MovementCredit:


The counterpart of supination, it is the internal rotation of the radiohumeral joint. It is a specialized movement and if it involves the forearms, it is the movement that turns the palm to face downwards. If the foot is involved, pronation involves raising the lateral aspect of the foot.

Inversion - Anatomical MovementCredit:


Inversion refers to the movement done by the foot. When the sole of the foot makes an inward motion, it makes the medial border of the foot elevated. This action is referred to as inversion.

Eversion - Anatomical MovementCredit:


The counterpart of inversion, this also refers to the movement done by the foot. The movement it makes is that it turns the sole of the foot outward so that its lateral border is elevated.


Ranges of motion are limited by the bony architecture of a joint, related ligaments and the muscles crossing that joint. It is a from the anatomical position that specific directions of movements can be clearly delineated and ranges of motion measured