Types Of Joints

A joint is a point where two or more bones meet. There are three main types of joints; Fibrous (immovable), Cartilaginous (partially moveable) and the Synovial (freely moveable) joint.


Fibrous Joints

  • This type of joint is also called synarthrodial. It is held together by just a ligament.
  • Examples are where the teeth are held to their bony sockets and at both the radioulnar and tibiofibular joints.

Cartilaginous joints

  • Cartilaginous (synchondroses and symphyses): These joints occur where the connection between the articulating bones is made up of cartilage. For example, between vertebrae in the spine.
  • Synchondroses are temporary joints which are only present in children, up until the end of puberty. For example, the epiphyseal plates in long bones.
  • Symphysis joints are permanent cartilaginous joints, for example, the pubic symphysis.
A cartilaginous joint between two vertebrae

Synovial Joints

  • Synovial (diarthrosis): Synovial joints are by far the most common classification of a joint within the human body.
  • They are highly moveable and all have a synovial capsule (collagenous structure) surrounding the entire joint, a synovial membrane (the inner layer of the capsule) which secretes synovial fluid (a lubricating liquid) and cartilage known as hyaline cartilage which pads the ends of the articulating bones.
  • There are 6 types of synovial joints which are classified by the shape of the joint and the movement available.

Types of Synovial Joint

Hinge joint

  • Movement – Flexion/Extension
  • Examples – Elbow/Knee

Pivot joint

  • Movement – Rotation of one bone around another
  • Examples – Top of the neck (atlas and axis bones)

Ball & Socket

  • Movement – Flexion/Extension/Adduction/Abduction/Internal rotation/External Rotation
  • Examples – Shoulder/Hip


  • Movements – Flexion/Extension/Adduction/Abduction/Circumduction
  • Example – CMC joint at the base of the thumb


  • Movements – Flexion/Extension/Adduction/Abduction/Circumduction
  • Examples – Wrist/MCP in the hand & MTP joints in the foot.


Gliding joint
  • Gliding movements
  • Intercarpal joints in the hands

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