Abduction vs Adduction: Difference and Comparison

Anatomy deals with the structure and structural organization of living beings. It is categorised as a branch of natural science. Anatomy is a very ancient science and has been used since the prehistoric period.


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Key Takeaways

  1. Abduction is the movement of a body part away from the body’s midline, while Adduction is the movement of a body part towards the midline.
  2. Abduction is used to describe movements in the limbs, while Adduction can also describe movements in the fingers and toes.
  3. Abduction and Adduction are opposite movements and are essential in body mechanics, especially in sports that require extensive limb use.

Abduction vs Adduction

The difference between Abduction and Adduction is the movement in a direction with respect to the midline or centre of the body. A midline is an imaginary line that is used to divide the body into two parts from left to right, head to toe. Midline also means it is the centre of a body. Abduction is the motion that happens when the body moves away from the centreline. Adduction is the motion when the body moves towards the centerline.

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Abduction is a concept related to anatomy. It shows the motion of the body or anatomical structure that is away from the midline

Adduction is also related to anatomy and physiology. It shows the motion of the body towards the midline. It means the movements of our body parts are inside.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonAbductionAdduction
CausesAbductors are responsible for abduction.Adductors are responsible for adduction. 
Leg MusclesIn this, thighs are spread. In this, thighs are moved inwards.
Arm MusclesIt takes place in Supraspinatus and Deltoid. It takes place in pectoralis major and Latissimus dorsi.
Anatomical StructuresIt involves short fibres.It involves long fibres. 
Hand and Foot MusclesFingers and Toes move apart.Fingers and toes move together.

What is Abduction?

Movement of the body and limbs, which pulls it away from the centre of the body, is termed Abduction. When the hands are swung higher or taken up to the shoulders, the abduction process occurs.

When the hands are far away from the wrist and the centre of the body, then it is called radial deviation. When hands move apart, it is a radial styloid.

It takes place in the shoulder when a person raises their arms and moves far away to the sides. In hips, also when a person raises the legs and moves it far away out to the sides, then abduction happens.

What is Adduction?

 The movement of the body and limbs, which pulls it towards the centre of the body, is termed Adduction. A contraction in the toes and fingers moves towards the body via the help of the adductor’s muscles.

Adductors Magnus and Brevis have a greater force. For the adduction of the fingers, palmar interossei are responsible. For arms, the latissimus dorsi is responsible, which is also a back muscle of our body.

For the movement of the big toe, adductor hallucis is responsible. For spreading toes, plantar interossei also play an important role.

Main Differences Between Abduction and Adduction

  1. Abduction involves short fibres in length. Adduction involves long fibres in length that have a greater force. 
  2. Fingers and Toes move apart in Abduction. Fingers and toes move together in Adduction.
Difference Between Abduction and Adduction
  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1051044307613086
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002192900100080X

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