Lesson 4: Definitions, Naming and Types of Synovial Joints

by Brent Brookbush DPT, PT, MS, PES, CES, CSCS, ACSM H/FS

Quick Reference – Joint Type Study Guide

What is a Joint:

  • Joint: Where two or more bones meet..

      • Etymology: joint (n.) late 13c., “a part of a body where two bones meet and move in contact with one another,” from Old French joint “joint of the body” (12c.), from Latin iunctus “united, connected, associated,” past participle ofiungere “join” (see jugular). (Etymology Online)

  • The naming of joints:

    • The names of joints are nothing to be intimidated by -no matter how long or complex the word may appear. Joints are generally named by combining the names of the two bones or prominences in contact with one another. (The technical term for combed words is a portmanteau)

      •  Examples:

        • The shoulder is technically referred to as the glenohumeral joint – where the humerus meets the glenoid fossa of the scapula.
        • The knee is technically referred to as the tibiofemoral joint – where the tibia meets the femur meet

    • Joint Motion:

      • All motion occurs at joints
      • Muscles pull on bones which creates movement at joints
      • The type/structure of a joint, dictates which joint actions are possible at that joint.

Types of Synovial Joints:

    1. Hinge
    2. Ball and Socket
    3. Pivot
    4. Gliding
    5. Saddle
    6. Condyloid

The importance of understanding joint structure:

  • In future lessons we will be discussing the function of each muscle, and you will be asked to determine the joints actions that each muscle is capable of producing. If you know the type of joint the muscle crosses, you will be able to reduce the possible actions to the few the joint is capable of producing. Regardless of how a muscle attaches to a bone,