Abduction

This is the Joint Movements section about the types of movements between bones at joints in the body.

The expressions listed in this category could also be described as:

  • actions at joints
  • actions of muscles, or
  • muscle actions

For a single list of all the movements of the body included in this section see types of movements at joints.

Anatomy and Human Movement: Structure and function with PAGEBURST Access

Sport and Exercise Science: An Introduction by Murray Griffin and Philip Watkins

Short definition of Abduction in the context of a term to describe movement of the body:

Abduction is movement away from the mid-line of the body.

That is, movement of the right arm to the right or movement of the left arm to the left would be abduction of the (right, or left) arm.

The word abduction may be used to describe a movement so it could be used in a phrase such as:

"Abduction of the hip is when the femur (upper-leg bone) moves outward to the side."

It is useful to know other words related to 'abduction', including:

  • abductor - a muscle that can act to cause an abduction movement at a joint is called an abductor. For example, the abductor pollicis longus muscle.
  • to abduct (verb) - e.g. "He abducted his right arm up to shoulder height."

Examples of Abduction:

  1. Abduction of an arm (or arms):
    Lift one arm (or both arms) from a straight position resting loosely at the side of the body out to the side(s) - so right arm to the right, left arm to the left - until the arm(s), still straight, form a horizontal line extending outwards from the shoulder joint with the result that the hand is an arm's length further away from the nearest part of the spinal column than it was before the movement started.
  2. Abduction of a leg:
    From an upright standing position with both legs straight and weight evenly distributed over both legs, lift one leg slightly off the ground (not the "abduction" part of the movement - that is elevation) then, keeping the leg straight at the knee, move it outwards to the side of the body - so left leg to the left, or right leg to the right. This movement results in the formation of a triangle with the two straight legs forming one side of the triangle each and an imaginary line between the ankles or feet forming the third line. The result is that the ankle and foot that have moved are further away from the mid-line through the centre of the body than they were before the movement started.

There are other possibilities. These are just two simple examples.


See also list of definitions of muscle terminology (words used to convey information about specific muscles) - useful for studying human anatomy and physiology, sports sciences e.g. physical education (PE), physiotherapy, and other health sciences.

About this section:

This is the Joint Movements section, which is about the types of movements between bones at joints in the body. Alternatively, terms listed in this category could be described as:

  • actions at joints,
  • actions of muscles or
  • muscle actions.

For a single list summarizing all the movements of the body included in this section see
types of movements at joints.

See also definitions of muscle terminology (words used to convey information about specific muscles) - useful for studying human anatomy and physiology, sports sciences e.g. physical education (PE), physiotherapy, and other health sciences.


Click for pages related to muscles

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