Lesson 1, Topic 1
In Progress

03-Anatomical Position

March 28, 2021

Anatomical position gives meaning to directional terms. It is the reference position in which the body is standing erect with the feet slightly apart and arms at the sides with palms turned forward. When the body is not in anatomical position, it can be described as supine, lying face upward, or prone, lying face downward.


Anatomical position
Discussions about the body, the way it moves, its posture, or the relationship of one area to another assume that the body as a whole is in a specific position called the anatomical position. In this reference position (Figure 1-3), the body is in an erect, or standing, posture with the arms at the sides and palms turned forward. The head also points forward, as do the feet, which are aligned at the toe and set slightly apart.

The broken line along the middle, or median, of the body demonstrates that the body has external bilateral symmetry—that is, the left and right sides of the body roughly mirror each other.

The anatomical position is a reference position that gives meaning to the directional terms used to describe the body parts and regions. In other words, you need to know the anatomical position so that you know how to apply directional terms correctly regardless of the particular position of the body being described.

Supine and prone are terms used to describe the position of the body when it is not in the anatomical position. In the supine position the body is lying face upward, and in the prone position the body is lying face downward.