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Joint Classification

structural classification of joints is based on two criteria:
1) the presence or absence of space between the articulating bones (synovial cavity)
2) the type of connective tissue that binds the bones together


functional classification of joins relates to degree of movement:

SYNARTHROSIS (no movement)
AMPHIARTHROSIS (slightly movable)
DIARTHROSIS (freely movable)


Fibrous Joints

there is no synovial cavity, and the bones are held together by dense irregular connective tissue that is rich in collagen fibres. permit little or no movement:
1) suture
2) syndesmoses
3) interosseous membranes


Cartilaginous Joints

there is no synovial cavity and the bones are held together by hyaline or fibrocartilage, allows little or no movement:
1) synchondroses
2) symphases


Synovial Joints

the bones forming the joint have a synovial cavity and are united by the dense irregular tissue of an articular capsule and often by accessory ligaments. Allows considerable movement (diarthroses). The articulating surfaces are covered by articular cartilage (hyaline) which reduces friction and absorbs shock.



fibrous joint composed of a thin layer of dense irregular connextive tissue, occuring only between bones of skull. irregular interlocking edges add strength. In infants/children they are amphiarthroses, while in older adults, synarthroses. When they fuse into bone, they become SYNOSTOSIS (synarthroses). If a suture persists beyond age 6, it is called a frontal or metopic suture.



fibrous joint in which there is a greater distance between the articulating surfaces and more dense irregular connective tissue than in a suture - typically arranged as a ligament (bundle) which allows limited movement.
1) distal tibiofibular joint - Amphiarthrosis
2) gomphosis or dentoaveolar joint - cone shaped peg fits into a socket. Synarthrosis.


Interosseous Membrane

a fibrous joint with a substantial sheet of dense irregular connective tissue that binds neighbouring long bones (amphiarthrosis).
1) radius and ulna
2) tibia and fibula



a cartilaginous joint in which the connecting material is hyaline cartilage.
e.g) epiphyseal (growth) plate - connects diaphysis and epiphyses of long bones
Immovable (synarthroses) - may also ossify and become synostosis.
e.g.) first rib and manubrium
Seen as dark areas between white-appearing bone tissue in an x-ray.



cartilaginous joint (amphiarthrosis) in which the ends of the articulating bones are covered in hyaline cartilage but a broad, flat disc of fibrocartilage connects the bones:
1) pubic symphysis
2) intevertebral joints
3) manubrium and body of sternum.


Articular (joint) Capsule

encloses the synovial cavity and unites the bones. Composed of:
1) outer fibrous membrane - dense irregular connective (mostly collagen) that attaches to the periosteum, literally a thickened continuation of periosteum. Allows considerable movement but great tensile strength prevents dislocation. LIGAMENTS - parallel bundles that are highly adapted for resisting strains.
2) an inner synovial membrane - areolar connective tissue with elastic fibres, sometimes includes accumulations of adipose tissue, called articular fat pads (like infrapatellar fat pad in knee).


Synovial Fluid

secreted by fibroblastlike cells in the synovial membrane, a clear or pale yellow viscous fluid. Hyaluronic acid and interstitial fluid filtered from blood plasma.
1) reducing friction by lubricating joint
2) absorbing shock
3) supplying oxygen and nutrients, removing wastes from chondrocytes in cartilage
4) contains phagocytes for removal of wear & tear-related debris
More viscous when cold, less when warmed up.
CRACKING JOINTS - suction from expansion of synovial cavity pulls CO2 and O2 into bubbles in fluid, then when volume decreases, gas is forced back into solution (popping sound)


accessory ligaments

1) extracapsular ligaments - outside the articular capsule, e.g. fibular and tibial collateral ligaments
2) intracapsular ligaments - within the capsule, but outside the synovial cavity by folds of synovial membrane (ACL, PCL of knee).


Articular Discs or Menisci

crescent-shaped pads of fibrocartilage lying between the articular surfaces of the bones and bind strongly to the fibrous capsule. Subdivide the synovial cavity into two spaces, allowing moved to occur in each space.
1) shock absorption
2) better fit between bony surfaces
3) adaptable surfaces for combined movements
4) weight dist over larger surface area
5) dist of synovial fluid across articular surfaces



prominent in the ball & socket joints of shoulder and hip - fibrocartilaginous lip that extends from the edge of the joint socket to deepen it and increase the area of contact between socket & ball.



stretched or partially torn muscle or muscle and tendon - occurs when muscle contracts suddenly and powerfully



forcible wrenching or twisting of a joint that stretches or tears it's ligaments but does not dislocate the bones



sac-like structures that are strategically situatied to alleviate friction insome joints, such as the shoulder and knee joints. Not part of synovial joints, but their walls consist of:
1) outer fibrous membrane of thin dense connective tissue
2) synovial membrane lining - filled with small amount of synovial-like fluid.


Tendon sheath

tubelike bursae that wrap around certain tendons that experience considerable friction as they pass through tunnels of connective tissue and bone.
1) inner visceral layer is attached to surface of tendon
2) outer parietal layer is attached to bone.
Between layers is small amount of synovial fluid. e.g. tendon of biceps brachii, wrist and ankle, fingers and toes. TENOSYNOVITIS


Movements - Gliding

movement of relatively flat bone surfaces back and forth and side to side over another; little change in angle between bones. e.g. Intercarpal and Intertarsal joints.


Movements - Angular

increase/decrease in angle between bones:
1) flexion - decrease in >, sagittal (flexion of thumb is across palm)
2) lateral flexion - movement of trunk in frontal plane
3) extension - increase in >, sagittal
4) hyperextension - extension past anatomical position
5) abduction - bone away from midline, frontal (spread fingers, toes)
6) adduction - bone towards midline, frontal (close fingers, toes) (thumb to palm in sagittal plane)
7) circumduction - flexion, abduction, extension, adduction and rotation in succession (distal end of body part moves in circle)


Movements - Rotation

movement of bone around longitudinal axis; in limbs may be medial (toward midline) or lateral (away from midline) e.g. shake 'no', turn trunk from side to side. If the ANTERIOR SURFACE of a bone of the limb is turned toward the midline, it is medial (internal) rotation, if it is turned away from the midline, it is lateral rotation. Hip is opposite to what you think!


Movements - Special

occur at specific joints:
1) elevation
2) depression
3) protraction
4) retraction
5) inversion
6) eversion
7) dorsiflexion
8) plantar flexion
9) supination
10) pronation
11) opposition


elevation & depression

superior & inferior movement of body parts
1) open, close mouth at TMJ
2) shrugging shoulders at acriomioclavicular
3) hyoid
4) ribs


protraction & retraction

anterior/posterior movement of body part in transverse plane
1) thrusting mandible at TMJ
2) protract clavicles by crossing arms


inversion & eversion

medial & lateral movement of sole


dorsiflexion & plantar flexion

bending of foot in direction of dorsum/plantar surface


supination & pronation

movement of forearm that turns palm anteriorly/posteriorly



movement of the thumb across palm to touch fingertips on same hand.


Synovial - Plane

articulated surfaces are flat or slightly curved. Many biaxial diarthroses, some triaxial (includes rotation):
1) intercarpal
2) intertarsal
3) sternocostal (sternum and R2-R7)
4) vertebrocostal


Synovial - Hinge

convex surface fits into concave surface. Uniaxial diarthrosis - flexion/extension.
1) knee (modified hinge)
2) elbow
3) ankle
4) interphalangeal


Synovial - Pivot

rounded or pointed surface fits into ring formed partly by bone and partly by ligament. Unixial diarthrosis - rotation.
1) atlanto-axial
2) radio-ulnar


Synovial - Condyloid

oval-shaped projection fits into oval-shaped depression; Biaxial diarthrosis - flexion/extension, abduction/adduction.
1) radiocarpal
2) metacarpalphalangeal


Synovial - Saddle

articular surface of one bone is saddle-shaped; articular surface of other bone 'sits' in saddle; Biaxial diarthrosis - flexion/extension, abduction/adduction.
1) carpometacarpal joint between trapezium and metacarpal of thumb


Synovial - Ball and Socket

ball-like surface fits into cuplike depression; triaxial diarthrosis- flexion/extension, abduction/adduction, rotation:
1) shoulder
2) hip


Factors affection ROM

1) structure or shape of articulating bone
2) strength and tension of the joint ligaments
3) arrangement and tension of the muscle
4) contact of the soft parts
5) hormones
6) disuse



Between skull bones.

Structural: fibrous.
Functional: amphiarthrosis and synarthrosis.

No Movement



Between superior articular facets of atlas and occipital condyles of occipital bone.

Structural: synovial (condyloid).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Flexion and extension of head; slight lateral flexion of head to either side.



Between dens of axis and anterior arch of atlas;
between lateral masses of atlas and axis.

Structural: synovial (pivot) between dens and anterior arch; synovial (planar) between lateral masses.
Functional: diarthrosis.

Rotation of head.
f: di
m: rotation of head



l: btwn vertebral bodies, btwn vertebral arches

Between vertebral bodies;
between vertebral arches.

Structural: cartilaginous (symphysis) between vertebral bodies; synovial (planar) between vertebral arches.
Functional: amphiarthrosis between vertebral bodies; diarthrosis between vertebral arches.

Flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of vertebral column.



Between facets of heads of ribs and facets of bodies of adjacent thoracic vertebrae and intervertebral discs between them;
between articular part of tubercles of ribs and facets of transverse processes of thoracic vertebrae.

Structural: synovial (planar).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Slight gliding.



Between sternum and first seven pairs of ribs.

Structural: cartilaginous (synchondrosis) between sternum and first pair of ribs; synovial (plane) between sternum and second through seventh pairs of ribs.
Functional: synarthrosis between sternum and first pair of ribs; diarthrosis between sternum and second through seventh pairs of ribs.

None between sternum and first pair of ribs; slight gliding between sternum and second through seventh pairs of ribs.



Between body of fifth lumbar vertebra and base of sacrum;
between inferior articular facets of fifth lumbar vertebra and superior articular facets of first vertebra of sacrum.

Structural: cartilaginous (symphysis) between body and base; synovial (planar) between articular facets.
Functional: amphiarthrosis between body and base; diarthrosis between articular facets.

Flexion, extension, lateral flexion, and rotation of vertebral column.



Between sternal end of clavicle, manubrium of sternum, and first costal cartilage.

Structural: synovial (plane, pivot).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Gliding, with limited movements in nearlyevery direction.



Between acromion of scapula and acromial end of clavicle.

Structural: synovial (plane).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Gliding and rotation of scapula on clavicle.



Proximal radioulnar joint between head of radius and radial notch of ulna; distal radioulnar joint between ulnar notch of radius and head of ulna.

Structural: synovial (pivot).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Rotation of forearm.


Wrist (radiocarpal)

Between distal end of radius and scaphoid, lunate, and triquetrum of carpus.

Structural: synovial (condyloid).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, circumduction, and slight hyperextension of wrist.



Between proximal row of carpal bones, distal row of carpal bones, and between both rows of carpal bones (midcarpal joints).

Structural: synovial (plane), except for hamate, scaphoid, and lunate (midcarpal) joint, which is synovial (saddle).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Gliding plus flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and slight rotation at midcarpal joints.



Carpometacarpal joint of thumb between trapezium of carpus and first metacarpal; carpometacarpal joints of remaining digits formed between carpus and second through fifth metacarpals.

Structural: synovial (saddle) at thumb; synovial (plane) at remaining digits.
Functional: diarthrosis.

Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction at thumb; gliding at remaining digits.


Metacarpophalangeal and metatarsophalangeal

Between heads of metacarpals (or metatarsals) and bases of proximal phalanges.

Structural: synovial (condyloid).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and circumduction of phalanges.



Between heads of phalanges and bases of more distal phalanges.

Structural: synovial (hinge).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Flexion and extension of phalanges.



Between auricular surfaces of sacrum and ilia of hip bones.

Structural: synovial (plane).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Slight gliding (even more so during pregnancy).


Pubic symphysis

Between anterior surfaces of hip bones.

Structural: cartilaginous (symphysis).
Functional: amphiarthrosis.

Slight movements (even more so during pregnancy).



Proximal tibiofibular joint between lateral condyle of tibia and head of fibula; distal tibiofibular joint between distal end of fibula and fibular notch of tibia.

Structural: synovial (plane) at proximal joint; fibrous (syndesmosis) at distal joint.
Functional: diarthrosis at proximal joint; amphiarthrosis at distal joint.

Slight gliding at proximal joint; slight rotation of fibula during dorsiflexion of foot.


Ankle (talocrural)

Between distal end of tibia and its medial malleolus and talus;
between lateral malleolus of fibula and talus.

Structural: synovial (hinge).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Dorsiflexion and plantar flexion of foot.



Subtalar joint between talus and calcaneus of tarsus; talocalcaneonavicular joint between talus and calcaneus and navicular of tarsus; calcaneocuboid joint between calcaneus and cuboid of tarsus.

Structural: synovial (plane) at subtalar and calcaneocuboid joints; synovial (saddle) at talocalcaneonavicular joint.
Functional: diarthrosis.

Inversion and eversion of foot.



Between three cuneiforms of tarsus and bases of five metatarsal bones.

Structural: synovial (plane).
Functional: diarthrosis.

Slight gliding.


temporomandibular joint

combined hinge and planer joint formed by the condylar process of the mandible and the mandibular fossa and articular tubercle of the temporal bone.
1) articular disc
2) articular capsule
3) lateral ligament - covered by parotid gland and helps strengthen joint laterally and prevent displacement of mandible
4) sphenomandibular ligament - from spine of sphenoid to ramus of mandible, does not contribute to joint strength
5) stylomandibular ligament - separates parotid gland from submandibular gland and limits movement of mandible at TMJ