Planes and Axes - Anatomy & Physiology

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Anatomica Planes of a Kangaroo - Wikimedia Commons 2008

Anatomical directions

  • Dorsal: Toward the spine
  • Ventral: Toward the sternum
  • Medial: Toward central line
  • Lateral: Away from central line
  • Cranial: Toward the head
  • Caudal: Toward the tail
  • Rostral: Toward the nose (beak)
  • Proximal: Toward the body (trunk)
  • Distal: Away from the body

Anatomical Planes

  • Dorsal Plane: Parallel to the back
  • Transverse Plane: Perpendicular to the long axis of the body
  • Sagittal: Dividing the body to right and left parts
  • Median: Sagittal section on midline dividing into right and left halves

Actions and Directions

  • Extension: Increasing the angle of a joint
  • Flexion: Decreasing the angle of a joint
  • Abduction: Movement away from the body
  • Adduction: Movement toward the body
  • Pronate: Rotation of the limb to move the dorsal manus medially
  • Supinate: Rotation of the limb to move the dorsal manus laterally


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