Joint Movements

Types of Movements of the Joints

  1. Flexion and Extension – Extension occurs when the surfaces get farther apart and the bones straighten. Flexion results in a decrease of the angle at the joint and brings the bones closer together. They occur in the sagittal plane around a frontal coronal axis.  Examples include the flexion of the arm at the elbow, hand at the wrist, leg at the knee. Foot at ankle is dorsiflexion which is lifting the foot upward and plantar flexion which is moving the food downward from the ankle.
  2. Lateral Flexion – side bending of the axial skeleton.  Examples are lateral flexion of the head at the neck and trunk.
  3. Abduction and Adduction – frontal plane movements around a sagittal axis occur at multiaxial joints like the bal and socket joint of the shoulder or ellipsoid joints. Abduction is movement away from the midline of the trunk of the body.  Adduction is movement medically toward the midline of the body.  (Tip to remember – Add – as in add to the body.)
  4. diagonal abduction  – Movement of a limb through a diagonal plane directly across and away from the midline of the body. moving the right arm from in front of the left hip to in front of the right shoulder
    diagonal adduction – movement by a limb through a diagonal plane toward and cross the midline of the body.
  5. Horizontal abduction – movement of the humerus in the horizontal plane away from the midline of the body: horizontal extension or transverse adduction.
    Horizontal adduction – movement of the humerus in the horizontal plane of the body toward the midline of the body. horizontal flexion or transverse adduction.
  6. Internal and external rotation – movement around an axis through a line on a structure, movement on a transverse plane around a longitudinal axis.  Rotation occurs at ball and socket joints.  Examples include rotation of the atlanoaxial joint (C1 and C2 of the neck). Internal rotation of the humerus at the shoulder and femur of the hip.
  7. Circumduction is a combination of abduction and adduction, flexion/extension and rotation and occurs at multiaxial joints.  It follows a pine cone shaped path of movement. Examples are the movement of the humerus at the shoulder and the femur at the hip.
  8. Pronation and Supination are movements of the forearm.  Turning the forearm from the supine position which is palm up to prone which is palm down.
  9. Inversion and Eversion – Movements of the foot that occur within the foot or ankle complex.  The reference surface is the planar surface (bottom of the foot ) when the foot faced inward. When the sole faces out it is eversion.
  10. Elevation and depression, protraction and retraction include the movement of the clavicle and scapula at the shoulder girdle.  Elevation is upward, depression is downward, protracation is forward, retraction is backwards.
  11. Hyperextension – beyond the anatomical position as the arm at the shoulder or leg at the hip.

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