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Glossary Term

Gliding Joint

Gliding joints are also known as arthrodial or plane joints. These synovial joints enable limited gliding movements due to flat bone surfaces and tight joint capsules. Common examples include carpal joints in the wrist, tarsal joints in the ankle, and facet joints in the spine.

Gliding Joint: A gliding joint (also called an arthrodial joint, plane joint, or plane articulation) is a synovial joint that allows only gliding movement in the plane of the articular surfaces. The opposed surfaces of the bones are flat or almost flat, with movement generally limited by tight capsules and ligaments. Gliding joints are numerous, are most often small, and allow very little motion. Examples include the carpal joints of the wrist, the tarsal joints of the ankle, and the facet joints of the spine.

For more information on gliding joints and synovial joint types, check out

Gliding Joints of the Human Body:

Carpal Joints:

  • Intercarpal joints (between the individual carpal bones of the wrist)
  • Carpometacarpal joints (between the distal carpal bones and the bases of the metacarpal bones, except the first carpometacarpal joint which is a saddle joint)

Tarsal Joints:

  • Intertarsal joints (between the individual tarsal bones of the foot)
  • Tarsometatarsal joints (between the distal tarsal bones and the bases of the metatarsal bones)
  • Subtalar (Talocalcaneal) Joint (between the talus and the calcaneus)

Proximal Tibiofibular Joint:

  • Joint between the lateral condyle of the tibia and the head of the fibula

Facet (Zygapophyseal) Joints:

  • Joints between the articular processes of adjacent vertebrae in the spine (cervical, thoracic, and lumbar regions)

Acromioclavicular Joint:

  • Joint between the acromion of the scapula and the clavicle

Sternocostal Joints:

  • Joints between the costal cartilages of the true ribs (except the first) and the sternum

Sacroiliac Joint:

  • Joint between the sacrum and the ilium of the pelvis

Patellofemoral Joint:

  • Joint between the patella and the femur




  1. Arthrodial joint
  2. Arthrodial
  3. Gliding
  4. Plane joint
  5. Plane articulation