Joints

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 16 Nov 2021

Joints, also known as articulations, are a form of connection between bones stabilized by ligaments. The study of joints is called arthrology. They provide stability to the skeletal system, as well as allowing for specialized movement. 

Gross anatomy

Joints can be classified into three broad types according to the tissue that binds them. 

Structural types
Functional types

Classification - size

For the purposes of describing arthropathy, the joints of the appendicular skeleton are traditionally divided into large and small joints. These have been formally defined by the American College of Rheumatology and European League Against Rheumatism in their 2010 rheumatoid arthritis guidelines as. 1:

Large joints
Small joints

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: classification of joints
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  • Figure 2: fibrous joint
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  • Figure 3: cartilaginous joint
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  • Figure 4: synovial joint
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