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The Facts Put Simply


A Primer On Joints


Joints are an important piece of the Arthritis puzzle as Arthritis usually affects the joints of the body. The three most commonly affected joints are the Knee, Shoulder and Hip joints.

Subject matter Quick Links for this page…

1) What Is a Joint?
2) Example of the Knee Joint
3) Example of the Hip Joint
4) Example of the Shoulder Joint
5) What are the differant types of joints?

What is a joint?

A joint is the point at which two bones come together. Most joints are mobile (articulating) which allows the bones to move.

A joint may consist of the following components:

Cartilage - at the joint, the bones are covered with cartilage (a connective tissue), which is made up of cells and fibers and is wear-resistant. Cartilage helps reduce the friction of movement.
Synovial membrane - a tissue called the synovial membrane lines the joint and seals it into a joint capsule. The synovial membrane secretes synovial fluid (a clear, sticky fluid) around the joint to lubricate it.
Ligaments - strong ligaments (tough, elastic bands of connective tissue) surround the joint to give support and limit the joint's movement.
Tendons - tendons (another type of tough connective tissue) on each side of a joint attach to muscles that control movement of the joint.
Bursas - fluid-filled sacs, called bursas, between bones, ligaments, or other adjacent structures help cushion the friction in a joint.
Synovial fluid - a clear, sticky fluid secreted by the synovial membrane.
Femur - the thigh bone
Tibia - the shin bone
Patella - the knee-cap
Meniscus - a curved part of cartilage in the knees and other joints

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Example of the Knee joint

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Example of the Hip joint

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Example of the Shoulder joint

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What are the different types of joints?

There are many different types of joints and they are classified according to structure and to how they move.

Joints that do not move are called "fixed."

Other joints may move a little, such as the vertebrae. Examples of mobile joints include:

• ball-and-socket joints, such as the shoulder and hip joints - allow backward, forward, sideways, and rotating movements
• hinge joints, such as in the fingers, knees, elbows, and toes - allow only bending and straightening movements
• pivot joints, such as the neck joint - allows limited rotating movements
• ellipsoidal joints, such as the wrist joint - allow all types of movement except pivotal movements

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