Difference Between Abduction and Adduction

Abduction vs Adduction

The body movements are accomplished basically by the contraction of muscles. Since most muscles are attached to bones, muscle can move parts of the skeleton relatively to each other. In humans, all these movements are classified according to their moving directions while assuming the body is in anatomical position. Adjusting in relation to the midline of the body, there are two types of motion; abduction and adduction. In addition to these two, flexion, extension, hyperextension, medial, lateral, circumduction, elevation, depression, protraction, retraction, pronation, supination, inversion, eversion and tilt are the other terms of fundamental movements from anatomical position.


Adduction is defined as motion that pulls a body part away from the midline of the body. In the case of fingers and toes, spreading the digits away from the centerline of hand or foot is also considered as abduction. Raising the arms laterally, to the sides and moving the knees away from the midline are some examples of abduction. Radial deviation is the abduction of wrist.


Adduction is the movement of a body part toward the body’s midline. In the case of fingers or toes, adduction is the movement of digits toward the limb. Closing arms to the chest or bringing knees together are examples of adduction. Adduction of the wrist is referred to as ulnar deviation.

What is the difference between Abduction and Adduction?

• Abduction is the movement that pulls a structure away from the midline. In contrast, adduction is the movement that pulls a structure toward the body’s midline.

• Adduction is the movement of digits toward the limb while abduction is the movement of digits away from the limb.

• Adduction of wrist is called ulnar deviation, whereas abduction of wrist is called radial deviation.