Anatomical Position

Before studying anatomy, a student should become aware of some of the vocabulary that is used to describe various aspects of the human body. If everyone uses the same terminology, then it is easier to understand what each of us is trying to say. So, before learning the particulars about the anatomy of a region, we will take a look at some of the terminology.

For the purpose of description, the body is considered as being in what is called the. "anatomical position". We will use a skeleton to describe this position. In this Anatomical Position, the body is assumed to be standing, the feet together, the arms to the side, and the head and eyes and palms of the hands facing forwards. To ensure consistency of description it is important to keep the anatomical position constantly in mind. This last point is an important one, since in a normal relaxed position of the body, the thumb points anteriorly. In anatomical parlance, the thumb is a lateral structure, not an anterior one. Here's the Anatomical Position as shown by a skeleton:
Anatomical Position anatomical position


Anatomical Planes

Table of Contents for Upper Limb & Back