Synovial Joints Structure

Synovial joint structure is basically the same for all freely moveable joints in the human body. It comprises ligaments, cartilage, membranes, and bursae.


The definition of a joint is where two bones meet. Synovial joints are freely moveable joints, for example, the shoulder, hip, and knee. They are made up of the following:


Ligaments are strong bands of fibrous tissue which join bone to bone. They are a vital part of synovial joint structure because they stop the joint from dislocating.

They are generally white in appearance. Blood supply to ligaments is very poor therefore they do not heal quickly when torn (sprained). Remember, you sprain a ligament and strain a muscle.

Hyaline cartilage

Also known as Articular cartilage this is a smooth, tough, shiny structure found in the joints at the ends of bones. Its function is to protect the ends of the bones and help lubricate joint movement. It also absorbs synovial fluid.

Joint capsule structure in synovial joints

The joint capsule is a tough fibrous tissue structure that surrounds the synovial joints. It adds strength and protects the synovial membrane underneath.

Synovial membrane

The synovial membrane is a thin membrane of epithelial cells within the joint capsule. It produces synovial fluid which lubricates the joint.

Fibrous cartilage

Synovial joint meniscus

This is softer cartilage that is found in some joints, for example, the cartilage menisci in the knee joint. The purpose of a meniscus is to add support and cushioning to the joint.


Knee bursa

A bursa is a small sac of fluid found in the structure of all synovial joints. Positioned between the tendon and the bone its purpose is to lubricate the movement of the tendon over the bone.

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