Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Physiotherapists work with people presenting with neuromusculoskeletal disorders of the lower limb. An in depth understanding of lower limb anatomy and functional anatomy is essential for safe and effective physiotherapy assessment and intervention. In this unit students will develop and be required to demonstrate knowledge about anatomy of the lower limb musculoskeletal system that is relevant to clinical presentations and to the practice of physiotherapy. The unit addresses concepts pertaining to osteology, arthrology and myology. A comprehensive study of the structure, function, nerve and blood supply of the pelvis and lower limb, necessary for physiotherapists, will be undertaken. The overall aim for the unit is to prepare students for future clinical units and professional practice in the area of lower limb musculoskeletal physiotherapy.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify, classify and describe the musculoskeletal structures of the pelvis, hip, knee, leg and foot. (GA5, GA8)

LO2 - Identify and describe the formation, branches and relations of the lumbosacral plexus and the course and distribution of peripheral nerves of the gluteal region and lower limb. (GA5, GA8)

LO3 - Identify and describe the structure and function of the vascular and lymphatic systems in the lower limb. (GA5, GA8)

LO4 - Analyse the muscle actions and joint movements that occur in functional activities involving the pelvis and lower limb. (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO5  - Analyse the musculoskeletal system of the lower limb in terms of how an individual with an impairment may present clinically in a physiotherapy practice setting. (GA4, GA5, GA8)

LO6 - Reflect on the value and importance to their learning of the human cadaveric materials utilised in this unit. (GA1)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

Classification of joints

Classification of skeletal muscles

  • terminology for describing muscle contraction – isometric, isokinetic, concentric, eccentric
  • terminology for describing muscle functions – action, agonist, antagonist, fixator, synergist

Structure, function and movements of the joints of the lower limb

  • Hip joint
  • Tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints
  • Tibiofibular joints
  • Talocrural joint
  • Joints of the foot

Form, attachments, actions and functions, and innervation of the muscles that move the hip, knee, ankle, foot and toes

Nerve supply to the lower limb

  • Lumbosacral plexus
  • Motor and sensory distribution of nerves in the lower limb
  • Peripheral and spinal nerve lesions in the lower limb

Blood supply of the lower limb, lymphatic drainage of the lower limb

Surface anatomy of the lower limb

  • palpation of lower limb anatomical structures of relevance to physiotherapy practice

Functional activity

  • Anatomical analysis of gait
  • Anatomical analysis of the soccer kick

Physiotherapy laboratory practices

  • Ethical and responsible handling of human remains
  • Personal protective equipment
  • Safety
  • Team work
  • Respect of peers

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit uses an active approach with on-campus lectures and practical classes that are supported by online activities.  Lectures allow teachers to convey necessary information so that students can gain an overall understanding and make connections between different components.  Lectures also provide opportunities for students to check their understanding and ask questions.  Practical classes will consolidate student learning in a supported environment using anatomical resources including cadavers.  In practical classes students will work collaboratively and engage in activities such problem solving to promote analysis, synthesis and evaluation of class content.  Online activities at the end of each week will provide students with feedback regarding their understanding of the relevant topic. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities, demonstrating respect for the individual as an independent learner.

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge of lower limb musculoskeletal anatomy.  The first two assessment tasks primarily focusses on knowledge acquisition and assimilation and provide early low stakes feedback to these transition students. 

Assessment tasks 1 and 3 (written examinations) enable students to demonstrate acquisition, understanding and application of content presented in the first half of the unit.  Assessment tasks 2 and 4 enable the students to demonstrate their ability to specifically identify anatomical structures on human cadavers, models, x-rays and surface anatomy photos aligning with the use of this content in clinical practice.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment task 1: Mid-semester written exam

Enables students to demonstrate acquisition, understanding and application of content delivered in the first half of semester.


LO1, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment 2: Mid-semester spot test 

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to identify structures on human cadavers (including images of human cadavers), models, x-rays and surface anatomy photos.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1,GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment 3: End semester written exam

Enables students to demonstrate acquisition and understanding of content delivered over the entire semester.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5

GA4, GA5, GA8

Assessment 4: End semester spot test 

Enables students to demonstrate their ability to identify structures on human cadavers (including images of human cadavers), models, x-rays and surface anatomy photos.


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8

Representative texts and references

Abrahams, P.H. (2019) McMinn’s Clinical Atlas of Human Anatomy, (8th ed), Elsevier. ISBN- 9780702073328.

Cael, C. (2011) Functional Anatomy: musculoskeletal anatomy, kinesiology and palpation for manual therapists. Cengage. ISBN 9781451127911.

Drake, R., Vogl, W., & Mitchell, A. (2019). Grays anatomy for students (4th ed.). Elsevier. ISBN: 9780323393041.

Kapit, W and Elson, L.M. (2014) The Anatomy Colouring Book (4th ed.). Pearson. ISBN: 9780321832016.

Levangie, P. K., & Norkin, C.C. (2011) Joint structure and function: A comprehensive analysis (5th ed.). FA Davis Co. ISBN:9780803626348.

Lumley, J. (2008). Surface anatomy: The anatomical basis of clinical examination (4th ed.). Elsevier. ISBN 9780443067945. 

Moore, K. L. (2017). Clinically oriented anatomy (8th ed.).  Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. ISBN: 9781496347213. 

Soames, R. and Palastanga, N. (2019) Anatomy and Human Movement, (7th ed), Elsevier. ISBN- 9780702072260.

Whitaker, R. H., & Borley, N. R. (2016). Instant anatomy (5th ed.). Wiley. ISBN: 978-1-119-15938-4.

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