There are many different types of joints in the human body. The official definition of a joint is “a structure in the human or animal body at which two parts of the skeleton are fitted together”. A joint, also known as an articulation or articular surface, is constructed in different ways to allow specific movements for certain areas of the body. Joints allow the body to move freely and complete different actions. The most common injuries to joints include the knee, elbow and shoulder.
Types of Joints
The human body is made up of 360 joints and many are grouped into different areas such as the skull and hip. Joints are classified differently depending on their structure and function. The different types of joints include the fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial. Each of these joints have different range of motion ranging from immoveable to free moveable.
Fibrous joints are considered joints that are “fixed”, due to their inability to move. The skull has the most number of fibrous joints than the rest of the human body. Sutures found in the skull are held together by Sharpey’s fibers. Some of the sutures that are found in the skull include: coronal, sphenfrontal, speenosquamosal, squamosal, zygomaticotemporal, metopic, sagittal and petrosquamas. The fibrous joints are often associated with syndesmosis. Syndesmosis is a fibrous joint that is connected by connective tissue. Another form of fibrous joint is the gomphosis, also known as dentialveolar syndesmosis. This joint helps keep the teeth inside the sockets via the maxillary bone.
A mix between the fibrous and synovial joints would be the cartilaginous joint. This joint can be classified into two types. The first kind is the synchondrosis and the second is symphysis. The most section of the human body in which cartilaginous joints can be found is between the vertebrae in the spine. If there is damage to the cartilaginous joints, then the risk of developing a disease such as osteoarthristis becomes higher.
The synovial joints are composed of different sections. These sections include the synovial cavity, joint capsule, articular cartilage, tendons and articular disks (fibrocartilage pads). Unlike the fibrous joints, the synovial joints can move to some degree. Throughout the human body there are six different types of synovial joints. These joints include the following:
- Gliding joint: Due to the sliding or gliding motion of this joint, the plane joint is more commonly known as the gliding joint. The human wrist has many plane joints which allow for gliding movements.
- Pivot joint: The pivot joint allows one bone to rotate to another such as the distal radioulnar joint.
- Hinge joint: The elbow is a great example of the type of movement a hinge joint can do.
- Ellipsoidal joint: This joint is also known as condyloid joint and it is responsible for allowing the joints to flex and extend.
- Saddle joint: This specific joint can be found in the thumb. The shape of the saddle joint is where the joint got its name.
- Ball and Socket joint: These types of joints are associated with the shoulder and hip.
Joint disorders and diseases
One of the most common joint diseases is arthritis. Arthritis is commonly associated with older people and juvenile arthritis affects many children throughout the world. The overuse of the joints and genetics play a large part in determining your future joint problems, if any. Other issues that can lead to an unhealthy joint include bursitis, dislocations and breakage. Depending on the severity of a joint disorder or disease, doctors will often recommend the treatment of R.I.C.E. This type of treatment allows for the joints to rest while being kept elevated and using ice and compression. If it important to always treat your body with respect and try to keep it safe. Your body will only work at its best if you allow it to.