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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Classify the different types of joints on the basis of structure
  • Explain the role of joints in skeletal movement

The point at which two or more bones meet is called a joint    , or articulation    . Joints are responsible for movement, such as the movement of limbs, and stability, such as the stability found in the bones of the skull.

Classification of joints on the basis of structure

There are two ways to classify joints: on the basis of their structure or on the basis of their function. The structural classification divides joints into bony, fibrous, cartilaginous, and synovial joints depending on the material composing the joint and the presence or absence of a cavity in the joint.

Fibrous joints

The bones of fibrous joints are held together by fibrous connective tissue. There is no cavity, or space, present between the bones and so most fibrous joints do not move at all, or are only capable of minor movements. There are three types of fibrous joints: sutures, syndesmoses, and gomphoses. Sutures are found only in the skull and possess short fibers of connective tissue that hold the skull bones tightly in place ( [link] ).

Illustration shows sutures that knit the back part of the skull together with the front and lower parts.
Sutures are fibrous joints found only in the skull.

Syndesmoses are joints in which the bones are connected by a band of connective tissue, allowing for more movement than in a suture. An example of a syndesmosis is the joint of the tibia and fibula in the ankle. The amount of movement in these types of joints is determined by the length of the connective tissue fibers. Gomphoses occur between teeth and their sockets; the term refers to the way the tooth fits into the socket like a peg ( [link] ). The tooth is connected to the socket by a connective tissue referred to as the periodontal ligament.

Illustration shows a gomphosis connecting a tooth to the jaw. The gomphoses have a porous appearance.
Gomphoses are fibrous joints between the teeth and their sockets. (credit: modification of work by Gray's Anatomy)

Cartilaginous joints

Cartilaginous joints are joints in which the bones are connected by cartilage. There are two types of cartilaginous joints: synchondroses and symphyses. In a synchondrosis    , the bones are joined by hyaline cartilage. Synchondroses are found in the epiphyseal plates of growing bones in children. In symphyses , hyaline cartilage covers the end of the bone but the connection between bones occurs through fibrocartilage. Symphyses are found at the joints between vertebrae. Either type of cartilaginous joint allows for very little movement.

Synovial joints

Synovial joints are the only joints that have a space between the adjoining bones ( [link] ). This space is referred to as the synovial (or joint) cavity and is filled with synovial fluid. Synovial fluid lubricates the joint, reducing friction between the bones and allowing for greater movement. The ends of the bones are covered with articular cartilage, a hyaline cartilage, and the entire joint is surrounded by an articular capsule composed of connective tissue that allows movement of the joint while resisting dislocation. Articular capsules may also possess ligaments that hold the bones together. Synovial joints are capable of the greatest movement of the three structural joint types; however, the more mobile a joint, the weaker the joint. Knees, elbows, and shoulders are examples of synovial joints.

Questions & Answers

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Sky Reply
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LEKAN Reply
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Ridhwan
Please what is ovulation
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What is cell division?
Adusei
What is copulation?
Adusei
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qaisar
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qaisar
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Ridhwan
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David Reply
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Faith Reply
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mana Reply
reproduction is the process by which living organisms give rise to young ones of their own kind
Miriam
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Wengelawit
the production of new forms of life over time as documented in the fossil record.
mana
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Marvin
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Judith Reply
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Elphas
melanin in that black color we posse in our skins
Marvin
Why do parasites take on a parasitic life?
Asadullah Reply
what is cell
Ousman Reply
A cell is the basic structure unit of an organ
Yaa
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Igwe
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Bashir
Organisms are living things that can function on their own
EZEA
A cell is a functional basic unit of an organisms.
Evelyn
Organisms is a entity which consists of one or more cells and are able to undergo all life processes
Evelyn
A respiration is the physical and chemical break down of complex food substance into absorbable or simple form.
Evelyn
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Goodrick Reply
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Rhoda Reply
Kidney play a very large role in human osoregulation by regulating the amount of water reabsorbed from glomerular filtrate in kidney as tubules, which is controlled by hormones such as antrdiuvetic hormone (ADH) , aldosterone and angiotensin.
Evelyn
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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