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"Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark. Professionals built the Titanic."

—Author Unknown



This chapter provides the basic information required to begin a study of kinesiology. By the end of this chapter, you should be able to:

  • Use basic kinesiology terminology when describing movement of the body and the body segments in space;

  • Define kinematics, osteokinematics, and arthrokinematics and give examples of the use of each of these terms and their relevance to studying kinesiology;

  • Identify the cardinal planes of the body and be able to demonstrate movement in each of the three cardinal planes—sagittal, frontal, and transverse—and the axes for these motions;

  • Describe the different types of motion, such as translatory and rotary, and relate these to motions within the human body;

  • Describe and define joint motion in terms of degrees of freedom, joint structural type and amount, and direction of motion;

  • Define and describe the common materials found in joints and summarize their functional significance to joint structure—joint capsule, synovial fluid, ligament, and bursa;

  • Describe and give examples of joints classified as uniaxial, biaxial, and triaxial and define degrees of freedom;

  • Describe and cite examples of movements in an open and a closed kinematic chain;

  • Describe and cite examples of the different types of arthrokinematic surface motions that occur between joint surfaces—rolling, spinning, sliding;

  • Describe and cite examples of different joint shapes and explain the concave-convex principle;

  • Define and give examples of close-packed and open-packed joint positions and describe compression compared to distraction of those joint surfaces and how these factors are relevant to joint function;

  • Explain the functional and clinical relevance of demonstrating competence in describing joint motion and human movement in kinematic terms.



Jamie, a clinician in the health professions, is attending her son's Little League game when another player appears to have hurt his finger. Jamie watches with concern from the sidelines as the volunteer coach, who happens to be the insurance man in Jamie's neighborhood, calmly announces that the finger is just "jammed." He proceeds to start to minister to the little boy, telling him to stay still and he will "pull it out." Jamie is facing a dilemma. What is the best course of action and how should Jamie go about it?


Welcome to a study of Kinesiology! You are about to embark on an adventure that will expand your knowledge of the human body and provide you with an appreciation of the beauty of human movement. Kinesiology is not a one-dimensional study that requires you to learn lists of facts about anatomical structure; rather, it is literally the study of movement. This journey will require you to be actively engaged in your learning process. Part of your learning will be through your own movement and the ...

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