International Encyclopedia of Rehabilitation


Here are the main positions of the body that are used in rehabilitation:

Adam position

A position in which the subject stands with the back to the examiner, the trunk moderately flexed, knees straight, head and upper limbs hanging relaxed. Used to detect thoracic asymmetry and slight lateral deviations of the vertebral column.

anatomic posture

Referral position of anatomical structure descriptions in which the body is represented standing, feet in the longitudinal axes of the legs, forearm in supination and the palms turned to the front.

KAMENETZ, Herman L. and Georgette Kamenetz. Dictionnaire de médecine physique de rééducation et réadaptation fonctionnelles, Paris, Maloine, 1972, 205 p., p. 143.

crouching position

Position of stooping or low bending of the trunk and flexion of the hips, the feet being on the ground. While there are variations, notably as far as the limbs are concerned, the knees are not completely flexed as they are in squatting.

frog position

A position seen in the newborn. The child lies prone, thighs in external rotation and abducted to about 90°, knees also at right angles.

hooklying position

Supine position with hips and knees bent, soles flat on the same level of the trunk. From this position, the entire body may also turn 90° to the side, i.e., to the hooklying position on the left or right. Term mostly used in the UK.

knee-chest position

Position on chest, head, upper limbs, knees, and legs, the buttocks being the most elevated part.

knee-elbow position

Position on elbows and knees, whereby the legs and feet usually also touch the ground.

long-sitting position

Sitting position with lower limbs straight and supported on the same level as the buttocks.

prone position

Horizontal position of the body, abdomen and face down.

recumbent position

Lying on an horizontal surface.

semiprone position

Position in which one side of the body is strictly prone, while the head is turned to the other side and the limbs of that same side are slightly curled up, flexed at the shoulder, elbow, hip, and knee.

squatting position

Position with the feet flat on the ground, knees and hips in complete flexion.

Thomas position

  1. Lying supine, one lower limb in complete extension, the other flexed in hip and knee, the thigh pressed against the trunk. This is the position used in the Thomas test and for stretching thigh hip flexor.
  2. Lying supine, both lower limbs flexed with hip and knee at right angles, the legs resting on a stool or other support. This is a position used for relaxation (notably of the lower back) and for pelvic traction.

tripod position

  1. Sitting position in bed, in which the trunk is supported by the hands placed in a plane posterior to the pelvis. Seen in abdominal weakness or meningeal irritation.
  2. Sitting position with hands placed anterior to the frontal plane. Seen in respiratory insufficiency.

tuck position

Kneeling with feet in plantar flexion, buttocks on heels, trunk completely flexed, and head close to the knees. While maintaining this position, the subject may also turn to the side.


Eisenberg MG. 1995. Dictionary of Rehabilitation. New York: Springer Publishing Company. 375 p. Used with permission.

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