Synovial joints

Dr Andrew Dixon et al.

Synovial joints are a type of joint with an articular capsule, consisting of an outer fibrous layer and an inner synovial membrane, which surrounds a fluid-filled synovial cavity. The articulating surfaces are covered by hyaline cartilage, designed to slide with little friction and to absorb compressive forces.  

These joints are termed diarthroses, meaning they are freely mobile. They are more mobile than cartilaginous joints and fibrous joints

Features of all synovial joints 
  • articular capsule with synovial membrane
  • synovial cavity containing synovial fluid
  • hyaline articular cartilage
Additional features within some synovial joints
  • fibrocartilaginous discs eg. menisci within the knee joint
  • intra-capsular ligaments eg. cruciate ligaments within the knee joint
  • intra-capsular tendons eg. popliteus tendon within the knee joint 
  • intra-articular tendons eg. long head of biceps tendon within the shoulder joint
Additional features surrounding some synovial joints
Types of synovial joints

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Article information

rID: 42705
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Synovial joint

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Cases and figures

  • Synovial joint. I...
    Figure 1: joint types
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  • Ball and socket j...
    Figure 2: ball-and-socket
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  • Hinge joint. Imag...
    Figure 3: hinge joint
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  • Saddle joint. Ima...
    Figure 4: saddle joint
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  • Condyloid joint. ...
    Figure 5: condyloid joint
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  • Pivot joint. Imag...
    Figure 6: pivot joint
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  • Plane joint. Imag...
    Figure 7: plane joint
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