Synovial joints

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 16 Nov 2021

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 
Additional features within some synovial joints
  • fibrocartilaginous discs e.g. menisci within the knee joint
  • intracapsular ligaments e.g. cruciate ligaments within the knee joint
  • intracapsular tendons e.g. popliteus tendon within the knee joint 
  • intra-articular tendons e.g. long head of biceps tendon within the shoulder joint
Additional features surrounding some synovial joints
Types of synovial joints

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: synovial joint
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  • Figure 2: joint types
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  • Figure 3: ball-and-socket
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  • Figure 4: hinge joint
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  • Figure 5: saddle joint
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  • Figure 6: condyloid joint
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  • Figure 7: pivot joint
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  • Figure 8: plane joint
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