Fibrous

As you learn about the examination of the musculoskeletal system, think about how the anatomy of the joint relates to its movement. Many of the joints we examine are synovial, or movable, joints. The shape of the articulating surfaces of synovial joints determines the type of motion in the joint. Spheroidal joints have a ball-and-socket configuration—a rounded convex surface articulating with a cuplike cavity, allowing a wide range of rotatory movement as in the shoulder and hip. HHinge joints are flat, planar, or slightly curved, allowing a gliding motion in one plane only, as in flexion and extension of the digits. In condylar joints, such as the knee, the articulating surfaces are convex or concave, and referred to as condyles.

SPHEROIDAL JOINT (BALL AND SOCKET)

Synovial Joints

Type of Joint

Articular Shape

Movement

Example

Spheroidal (ball and socket)

Convex surface in concave cavity

Wide-ranging flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, rotation, circumduction

Shoulder, hip

Hinge

Flat, planar

Motion in one plane; flexion, extension

Interphalangeal joints of hand and foot; elbow

Condylar

Convex or concave

Movement of two articulating surfaces not dissociable

Knee; temporo-mandibular joint

Bursae. Easing joint action are bursae, roughly disc-shaped synovial sacs that allow adjacent muscles or muscles and tendons to glide over each other during movement. They lie between the skin and the convex surface of a bone or joint (as in the prepatellar bursa of the knee, p. 481) or in areas where tendons or muscles rub against bone, ligaments, or other tendons or muscles (as in the subacromial bursa of the shoulder, p. 472).

Knowledge of the underlying joint anatomy and movement will help you assess joints subjected to trauma. Your knowledge of the soft-tissue structures, ligaments, tendons, and bursae will help you evaluate the changes of aging, as well as arthritis.

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