Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsWhy should we know the correct terminology for areas of the body and for movements? What are the benefits? In short, using the correct terminology aids our professional image and allows us to convey our findings in a way that all health professionals can understand and identify. This ensures a safe referral and follow up by any health professional. Terms relating to aspects of the body are as follows. Distal. Further away from the core of the body, as in the fingers are distal to the wrist. Proximal. Closer to the core of the body, as in proximal interphalangeal joint, PIP joint. Medial. Closer to the mid line of the body, as in the medial aspect of the knee. Lateral.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsFurther away from the mid line of the body, as in the lateral aspect of the foot. Superior. Above, as in the superior vena cava, which is above the heart. Inferior. Below, as in inferior aspects of the heart. Circumferential. All the way around a part of the body. Palmar or volar, as in the palmar aspect of the hand. You may have been asked to apply a volar cast for a metacarpal fracture. Dorsal, or posterior. Back of or upper surface, as in the dorsal of the foot. Ipsilateral. All on the same side of the body, for example, the stroke left her with left arm and left leg weakness, ipsilateral weakness. Contralateral. On opposite sides of the body.

Skip to 2 minutes and 16 secondsFor example, he fell injuring his right hand and his left knee, contralateral injuries. Terms relating to movement of the body are as follows. Extension. Flexion. Circumduction, moving in a circle, as in rotation of the wrist or shoulder. Pronation. Supination. Abduction, away from the mid line of the body. Adduction. Towards the mid line, adding to the body. Inversion. Turning inwards, as in inversion injury of the ankle. Eversion. Turning outwards. Consider the picture. Describe the injury using the correct terminology.

Why use professional language?

Having discussed the requirements for documentation, we continue to explore the terminology used.

Listen to Nicky Parker-Summers explain the importance of using the correct terminology and introduce key terms.

You may also find it useful to download the transcript from the video, available in the Downloads section below, and review the terms you have just heard.


Your task

Consider the picture. Describe the injury using the correct terminology.

Alt text


Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

An Introduction to Physical Health Assessment

Coventry University