Physiopedia anatomy database report 2016


Physiotherapists require a high level of anatomy understanding in order to inform appropriate and detailed assessment and treatment of their patients. It is therefore a core learning requirement for many. Physiopedia should reflect this need with high quality articles that are well coordinated with other content on Physiopedia. This work follows on from a recent review of anatomy content on Physiopedia. The review found that there was poor coverage of anatomy across all of the disciplines of physiotherapy. The best coverage was available for the MSK with 5 out of 13 (38%) articles searched for available. This article reports the results of the MSK section of the Physiopedia anatomy database.


Lists of anatomical structures for bones, joints, muscles, peripheral nerves and ligaments were created with the use of an anatomy textbook, Anatomy & Physiology: The Unity of Form and Function by Saladin. Additionally, the anatomy pages of wikipedia, were used to check the list was relevant for online content.

The anatomical structures were individually searched using the search function on Physiopedia between August 1st and 13th 2016. The availability of the articles was recorded and was represented as percentage.


Structure type Number of pages on list Number of available pages Percentage available
Bones 49 6 12%
Joints 22 9 39%
Muscles 109 38 35%
Peripheral nerves 47 1 2%
Ligaments 140 18 13%
Total 367 72 20%


This report confirms that there is a lack of MSK anatomical content available on Physiopedia and shows that there is much less than estimated in the previous review. The best coverage is from those pages that detail joints and muscles. A note on joint articles, some tend to cover the general anatomy around the joint rather than the specifics of bone articulation. The least amount of work has been done on peripheral nerves with only one page out of 47 available.


Not all anatomy was included, only structures deemed relevant to MSK practice. One researcher created the lists therefore there was no group decision on what anatomy was important.


  1. The database should be maintained and updated. It should also be shared and available to others so that it can be kept up-to-date with what is available on Physiopedia.
  2. The lists should be expanded and checked so that they include all relevant anatomy to our profession. Other physiotherapy disciplines should be included. Meta-articles should also be documented and recorded.
  3. Further information should be collected such as a quality scores and any alerts on the pages.