Palatine Pirouette

The pterygoid medial and lateral plates of the sphenoid fit into the grooves on the posterior surface of the vertical portion of each palatine base. These palatine surfaces are smooth in order to allow for free gliding movement of the pterygoid plates within the grooves of the sphenoid. This illustration shows the relationship of these three bones to each other as the paired palatine bones are positioned between the sphenoid’s pterygoid plates. In this position, the palatine bones may slide and spin on one side, allowing the other side to be raised or lowered, while the horizontal plate of the palatine bones communicates with the support offered from the other side. This act of movement, or spin, is one that you would see a dancer use to perform a pirouette on one foot, as the other foot is raised and touching the supporting leg’s knee.