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Study of joints and their structure, function, and non-function


Any point where two bones meet; named for bones involved; classified according to how adjacent bones are bound to each other; movement not required


Joint in which two bones, once separate, become fused by osseous tissue (i.e. frontal bone and epiphysis in adults)


The point of connection between two bones or elements of a skeleton (especially if the articulation allows motion)

Bony Joints

Immovable joint formed when the gap between two bones ossifies and they become a single bone

Fibrous Joints

Type of joint where bones are connected by fibrous tissue (collagen); namely dense regular connective tissue; no joint cavity is present; most are immovable or only slight movable

Synarthrodial Joint

Type of joint in which bones are held together by tough connective tissue making the joint essentially immoveable (aka Fibrous Joint)

What are the three kinds of Fibrous Joints?

Sutures, Gomphosis, and Syndesmosis


Immovable joints that unite cranial bones


Bones fit together like a peg in a hole, secured by fibrous tissue (i.e. tooth & socket)


Connected by a ligament or membrane that allows some movement (radius and ulna or tibia and fibula)

Cartilaginous Joints

Have no joint cavity, Bones held together by cartilage. Examples are growth plates, disks between vertebrae and the pelvic symphysis; partial movement

What are the two types of Cartilaginous Joints?

Syncondroses and Symphyses


Hyaline cartilage unites the bones. Immovable. Ex. between the ribs and sternum, growth plate between the diaphyses and epiphyses


Structurally cartilagenous joints with fibrocartilage, found in pubic symphysis (pregnancy) and intervertebral disc (Functionally amphiarthroses - slightly movable)

Synovial Joints

The classic joints, (stifle joint, elbow joint, fetlock joint)


Synonym for synovial joint

Synovial Cavity

Space between bones at a synovial joint; contains synovial fluid produced by the synovial membrane

Synovial Fluid

Viscid lubricating fluid secreted by the membrane lining joints and tendon sheaths etc.; removes waste, add to ease of mobility and nourishes joint

Joint Capsule

Surrounds the joint cavity, has the layers the fibrous capsule and the synovial membrane

Fibrous Capsule

Outer layer of joint capsule that is continuous with the periosteum; unites articular bones; encloses joint cavity

Synovial Membrane

A thin membrane in synovial (freely moving) joints that lines the point capsule and produces/secretes synovial fluid that is made of Hyaluronic acid

Areolar Connective Tissue

Gel-like matrix with all 3 fiber types; fibroblasts, mast cells, macrophages & some white blood cells


A disk of cartilage that serves as a cushion between the ends of bones that meet at a point (aka Articular Discs)


Grows inward from joint capsule to form pad between articulating bones to absorb shock and pressure, guide bones in movement, and reduce chances of dislocation (i.e. pads between vertebrae that are shock absorbers)


Sac-like connective structure found in some joints; protects moving parts from friction, cushions different adjacent structures (i.e. located between adjacent muscles, tendon passing over bone, and between bone and skin)


Tough bands of connective tissue that attach muscles to bones; most important structure in stabilizing a joint


Fibrous tissue that connects bone to bone

Extracapsular Ligaments

Fibular and tibial collateral ligaments

Intracapsular Ligaments

Anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments

Collateral Ligaments

Connect the joint at both sides; they give medial and lateral stability and prevent dislocation

Cruciate Ligaments

Crisscross within the knee (forms an "X"); they give anterior and posterior stability and help control rotation

What are some types of synovial joints?

Planar, hinge, pivot, condylar, saddle, and ball and socket

Planar Joint

Side to side, gliding movement (i.e. joints that form between articular facets); a synovial joint having articulating surfaces that are flat or slightly curved, permitting side-to-side and back-and-forth movements; examples include the intercarpal and intertarsal joints; also called a gliding joint

Articular Facets

The smooth joint surfaces of the articular processes

Hinge Joint

Found at the elbow, knee, ankle, and fingers, allows a joint to bend and straighten promoting rotation; movement in one plane

Pivot Joint

Rotating bone turns around an axis; i.e. connection between radius/ulna and humerus

Condylar Joint

Biaxial joint capable of movement in 2 planes; oval convex csuface on one bone that fits in a complementary shaped depression on the other

Saddle Joint

Freely movable joint that allows movement of one bone to slide in two directions (i.e. thumb joint)

Arthroscopic Surgery

A type of surgery performed on a joint using only small punctureholes to insert instruments to observe and fix injured structures; inject saline


Surgical reconstruction or replacement of a malformed or degenerated joint


One who studies motion or movement

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