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A joint is defined as the articulation between two or more bones. [1] Structurally, the joints are classified according to how the bones are connected to each other. There are three structural classifications of joints:

  • fibrous joint - joined by fibrous connective tissue
  • cartilaginous joint - joined by cartilage
  • synovial joint - not directly joined

In addition to this, joints may be classified into three types by their degree of movement[2]:

  • diarthroses - movable joints
  • amphiarthroses - partially movable joints[3]
  • synarthroses - immovable joints[4]

Diarthroses Joints

Diarthroses (or diarthroidal joints) are the most common and most moveable type of joints in the human body. The singular form is diarthrosis.[4] Synovial joints fall under this category.[5]:

Amphiarthroses Joints

Partially movable joints are called amphiarthroses. The singular form is amphiarthrosis.[4] In this type of joint, the bones are connected by hyaline cartilage or fibrocartilage. The ribs connected to the sternum by costal cartilages are an example of slightly movable joints connected by hyaline cartilage (cartilaginous joints). The symphysis pubis is a slightly movable joint in which there is a fibrocartilage pad between the two bones. The joints between the vertebrae and the intervertebral disks are also of this type.

Synarthroses Joints

Synarthroses are immovable joints. The singular form is synarthrosis.[4] In these joints, the bones come in very close contact and are separated only by a thin layer of fibrous connective tissue. The sutures in the skull are examples of immovable joints.

Fibrous Joints

Cartilaginous Joints

Synovial Joints

Main article: Synovial Joint

There are six types of synovial joints[5]: gliding (planar), hinge, ball-and-socket, condyloid (ellipsoidal), pivot, and saddle.

Name Example Description
Gliding joints (or planar joints) the carpals of the wrist These joints allow only gliding or sliding movements.
Hinge joints the elbow (between the humerus and the ulna) These joints act like a door hinge, allowing flexion and extension in just one plane.
Pivot joints the elbow (between the radius and the ulna) This is where one bone rotates about another.
Condyloid joints (or ellipsoidal joints) the wrist A condyloid joint is where two bones fit together with an odd shape (e.g. an ellipse), and one bone is concave, the other convex. Some classifications make a distinction between condyloid and ellipsoid joints.
Saddle joints the thumb (between the metacarpal and carpal) Saddle joints, which resemble a horse riding saddle, permit the same movements as the condyloid joints.
Ball and socket joints the shoulder and hip joints These allow a wide range of movement.

See Also


  1. Donche, Dan (2008). FF Trainer Certification Guide. USA: Fatal Fitness. 
  2. various (n.d.). Joints. Skeletal Retrieved on 2008-09-29.
  3. unk. (n.d.). Amphiarthroses. Virtual Medical Retrieved on 2008-09-29.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 unk. (n.d.). Articulations. Retrieved on 2008-09-29.
  5. 5.0 5.1 various (n.d.). Synovial joint. Wikipedia. Retrieved on 2008-09-29.

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