Anatomical Terms

Published on 18th December 2021

Anatomical Terms

To understand the workings of the muscles, it is really important to understand the terminology of the subject anatomy and physiology. Here is a useful list: Left


Toward the side (Away from the mid-sagittal plane)

Eyes are lateral to the nose


Away from the side (Towards the mid-sagittal plane)

Eyes are medial to the ears


[ventral] Toward the front of the body

[belly side of the body] Nose is on the anterior of the body



Toward the back (rear) of the body

[vertebral side of the body] Heel is posterior to the toes

[dorsal surface: nape of the neck, back of the hand, top of the foot ]



Toward the top of the body

[toward the head] Shoulders are superior to the hips



Toward the bottom of the body [toward the buttocks/tail]

Stomach is inferior to the heart


Toward the trunk

(describes relative position in limb) Knee is proximal to the ankle


Away from the trunk

(describes relative position in limb) Hand is distal to the elbow


Toward the inside

Away from the surface Thigh muscles are deep to the skin


Toward the surface

Away from the inside Abdominal muscles are superficial to the intestines


Anterior surface of the hand Palm of the hand


Underside of foot Sole of the foot


Same side


Outer layer


Opposite side


Inner layer


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