Here we consider the role of abstract models in advancing our understanding of movement pathology. Models of movement coordination and control provide the frameworks necessary for the design and interpretation of studies of acquired and developmental disorders. These models do not however provide the resolution necessary to reveal the nature of the functional impairments that characterise specific movement pathologies. In addition, they do not provide a mapping between the structural bases of various pathologies and the associated disorders of movement. Current and prospective approaches to the study and treatment of movement disorders are discussed. It is argued that the appreciation of structure-function relationships, to which these approaches give rise, represents a challenge to current models of interlimb coordination, and a stimulus for their continued development. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.