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Anatomical terminology

Anatomical terminology

The anatomical position is defined as the body in an upright position with legs parallel, arms by the sides with the palms facing forward. We need to know the common terms used in anatomy to describe the different positions of bodies structures in relation to each other. Knowing these various positions will help in you in both the further understanding of the bodies anatomical position in relation to itself, and in describing the location of the bodies structure to clients.

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Anatomical terminology is typically referred to using the Latin root of the word particularly in human (bipedal) physiology, however some anatomical terms are used interchangeably with the Greek root, particularly with veterinarians who are referring specifically to animal (quadrupedal) physiology.

The most common anatomical terminologies are as follows…

Anterior (ventral) Describes the front or direction toward the front of the body. 
Posterior (dorsal) Describes the back or direction toward the back of the body. 
Superior (cranial) describes a position above or higher than another part of the body proper. 
Inferior (caudal) describes a position below or lower than another.
Lateral describes the side or direction toward the side of the body. 
Medial describes the middle or direction toward the middle of the body. 
Proximal describes a position in a limb that is nearer to the point of attachment or the trunk of the body. 
Distal describes a position in a limb that is farther from the point of attachment or the trunk of the body. 
Superficial describes a position closer to the surface of the body. 
Deep describes a position farther from the surface of the body.

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