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Meaning of Lateral

Lateral is used in medical, anatomy, and kinesiology terminology to refer to where parts of the body are located, as well as in biology. The video below provides a quick explanation to define the term lateral, useful for fitness trainers or other professionals needing to understand this anatomic reference term.

The term lateral, in reference to the anatomical position, means away from the midline, or median or midsagittal plane; the side of the body, or a body part that is farther from the middle or center of the body. Typically, lateral refers to the outer side of the body part, but it is also used to refer to the side of a body part. For example, when referring to the knee, lateral refers to the side of the knee farthest from the opposite knee.


The iliotibial band is on the lateral portion of the thigh.


The opposite of lateral is medial.

Related Terms

Lateral is a core anatomic reference term from which other terms are built:


This page created 11 Oct 2011 18:20
Last updated 22 Oct 2017 17:56

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