The Anatomical Position

Written by Oliver Jones

Last updated September 30, 2022 • 18 Revisions •

The anatomical position is the standard reference orientation of the human body.

It is used to provide a clear and consistent mechanism of describing the location of structures.

In this article, we shall look at the anatomical position in more detail – its features and applications in describing human anatomy.

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Description of the Anatomical Position

The standard anatomical position is described as a person in the following orientation:

  • Standing upright and facing forward.
  • Mouth closed with neutral facial expression.
  • Arms straight, hands held by the hips with palms facing forward.
  • Feet together and parallel, toes pointing forward.
  • In biological males, the penis is described as erect.

Fig 1
The standard anatomical position used when describing human anatomy

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