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8: Joints

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  • Thumbnail image credit: "bone x-ray result" is in the Public Domain, CC0

    • 8.1: Introduction
      Joints are the location where bones come together. Many joints allow for movement between the bones. At these joints, the articulating surfaces of the adjacent bones can move smoothly against each other. However, the bones of other joints may be joined to each other by connective tissue or cartilage. These joints are designed for stability and provide for little or no movement.
    • 8.2: Classification of Joints
      Joints are classified both structurally and functionally. Structural classifications of joints take into account whether the adjacent bones are strongly anchored to each other by fibrous connective tissue or cartilage, or whether the adjacent bones articulate with each other within a fluid-filled space called a joint cavity. Functional classifications describe the degree of movement available between the bones, ranging from immobile, to slightly mobile, to freely moveable joints.
    • 8.3: Fibrous Joints
      At a fibrous joint, the adjacent bones are directly connected to each other by fibrous connective tissue.  There are three types of fibrous joints: sutures,  a syndesmosis, and a gomphosis.
    • 8.4: Cartilaginous Joints
      At a cartilaginous joint, the adjacent bones are united by cartilage, a tough but flexible type of connective tissue. There are two types of cartilaginous joints: a synchondrosis and a symphysis.
    • 8.5: Synovial Joints
      Synovial joints are the most common type of joint in the body. A key structural characteristic for a synovial joint that is not seen at fibrous or cartilaginous joints is the presence of a joint cavity. This fluid-filled space is the site at which the articulating surfaces of the bones contact each other.
    • 8.6: Types of Body Movements
      Synovial joints allow the body a tremendous range of movements. Each movement at a synovial joint results from the contraction or relaxation of the muscles that are attached to the bones on either side of the articulation. The type of movement that can be produced at a synovial joint is determined by its structural type. While the ball-and-socket joint gives the greatest range of movement at an individual joint, in other regions of the body, several joints may work together to produce a particul
    • 8.7: Anatomy of Selected Synovial Joints
      This section will examine the anatomy of selected synovial joints of the body. Anatomical names for most joints are derived from the names of the bones that articulate at that joint, although some joints, such as the elbow, hip, and knee joints are exceptions to this general naming scheme.
    • 8.8: Development of Joints
      Joints form during embryonic development in conjunction with the formation and growth of the associated bones.