Essential Anatomy 5


A valuable 3-D anatomical model at your fingertips.

By Emily Monson, PT

The Essential Anatomy app is the perfect tool to replace your 2-D model. It is interactive and easy to use, and is the perfect app to have at your fingertips when at the clinic.

The app is easy to navigate. With simple on and off buttons for each body system, you can pinpoint the exact part you want to see. You can turn on as many as seven layers of systems at a time, which is useful for seeing how parts and systems interact and work together. You can fade layers as needed, making the 3-D model realistic by allowing you to see in even more detail. Also, through the zoom in and out and drag and drop features, you can set up a model to view from a specific desired angle.

I find that this app is helpful especially when learning more about a patient’s surgery or condition, as it shows specific details. You can also bookmark certain models you create and personalize to make it easier to return to certain patients or conditions.

The app is under one dollar, which is very reasonable for the amount of information available and numerous ways it allows you to explore the human anatomy. You can also purchase add-ons. These add-ons include Muscle System Plus, which allows you to explore muscle origins, insertion points, and blood flow, as well as Skeletal System Plus. Both of these add-ons have animated models, which make for even more ways to view the systems.

As a physical therapist, I find this app most helpful because it allows me to easily explain a diagnosis or postoperative condition through the ability to “peel away” parts of the anatomy, move the position of the model to show several angles of the associated anatomy, and implement several systems at one time. Explaining the intimate connection of neurologic systems with musculoskeletal details or bony landmarks can be challenging in 2-D, and this app allows that with ease. It also enhances the patient-provider interaction through additional questions suggested regarding associated systems, referral pain patterns, and joint kinematics, which is an excellent teaching tool for patients’ best understanding at their first physical therapy visit.

Overall, this is a low-cost option that provides a detailed anatomy companion for all physical therapists, and you will enjoy using this regularly.


Emily Monson, PT, is an Impact editorial board member and owner of Clear Lake Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists. She can be reached at

Copyright © 2018, Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association. All Rights Reserved.

Are you a PPS Member?
Please sign in to access site.
Enter Site!