Author: Vijay Shankar, M.D. (see Authors page)

Revised: 6 July 2018, last major update December 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Joints anatomy [title]

Cite this page: Shankar, V. Anatomy. website. Accessed July 17th, 2018.
Definition / general
  • Junction between adjacent bones that provide painless range of motion and stability
  • Synovial or nonsynovial

  • Synovial joints:
    • Also called diarthroses
    • Contain joint space between ends of bones formed by endochondral ossification
    • Joints covered by hyaline cartilage, strengthened by dense fibrous capsule continuous with periosteum of bones and an inner synovial membrane
    • Joint is reinforced by ligaments and muscles
    • Presence of joint space allows wide range of motion and maintains stability during use

  • Nonsynovial joints:
    • Also called solid joint or synarthrosis
    • No joint space present
    • Provides structural integrity and minimal movement
    • May be fibrous / synarthrosis (cranial sutures, bonds between roots of teeth and jaw bones) or cartilaginous / amphiarthrosis (manubriosternalis and pubic)

  • Bursae:
    • Found when muscles, tendons and skin glide over bony prominences
    • Subject to same diseases as large joint spaces

  • Menisci:
    • Composed of collagen arranged circumferentially with some radial fibers
    • In young adults, are white, translucent and supple
    • Become more opaque, yellow, less supple in elderly
Diagrams / tables

Images hosted on other servers:

Shoulder joint

Different types of synovial joints

Gross images

Images hosted on other servers:

Elbow joint; deep dissection; anterior view