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Canadian Fitness Education Services (CFES)
Fitness Knowledge Homestudy Program

Planes of the Body

A plane is a fixed line of reference used to divide the body into various sections. of motion are fixed

directions of movement.

 

A. Median: The median plane (also called the

midline) divides the body into equal left and right sections. The terms lateral and medial refer to this plane.

 

B. Sagittal: The sagittal plane runs parallel to the median plane and divides any section of the body into unequal right and left sections. The terms lateral and medial refer to this plane.

 

C. Frontal: The frontal plane divides the body into front and back sections. The terms anterior and posterior refer to this plane.

 

D. Transverse: The transverse plane divides the body into upper and lower sections. The terms superior and inferior refer to this plane.

 

E. Superior: Superior refers to a structure that is closer to the head or higher than another structure (e.g. the knee is superior to the ankle).

 

F. Inferior: Inferior refers to a structure that is closer to the feet or below another structure (e.g. the elbow is inferior to the shoulder).

 

G. Anterior: Anterior refers to a structure that is in front of another structure (e.g. the nose is anterior to the ear).

 

H. Posterior: Posterior refers to a structure that is behind another structure (e.g. the heel is posterior to the toes).

 

I. Medial: Medial refers to a structure that is closer to the median plane (or midline) of the body (e.g. the nose is medial to the ear).

 

J. Lateral: Lateral refers to a structure that is further away from the median plane (e.g. the shoulder is lateral to the chin).

 

K. Proximal: This term relates to the limbs only (arms or legs) and refers to a structure that is closer to the median plane or root of the limb (e.g. the elbow is proximal to the wrist).

 

L. Distal: This term relates to the limbs only (arms or legs) and refers to a structure that is further from the median plane or root of the limb (e.g. the toes are distal to the knee).

 

M. Facing Upward: Facing forward or upward (e.g. lying on one back).

 

N. Facing Downward: Facing backward or downward (e.g. lying on one front).

 

O. Deep: Towards the inside of the body (organs are deeper than the muscles).

 

P. Superficial: Toward the surface of the body (e.g. the skin is superficial to the muscles).

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Chapter 2 The Skeletal System