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Joints: Functions, Composition, Types, Conditions, Symptoms and Prevention

Nov 15, 2023

Joints Functions, Composition, Types, Conditions, Symptoms and Prevention

A joint is defined as any place in your body where two bones come together. They are a part of the structure of your bones. Sometimes, the term "articulation" refers to a joint.

Your body contains hundreds of joints, and doctors classify them according to a variety of classification systems. Generally, joints are categorized based on:

  • The purpose of their movement.
  • What their composition is (from a historical perspective).
  • Joints support your entire body, from head to toe. Every joint whether it's one you know about, like your ankle, or one you've never heard of like the joints keeping your skull together helps you use it regularly.

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What Is The Function Of Joints?

Your joints support your body. They facilitate movement as well as sitting.

Some joints provide support for the structure. You have to make the move. There are three types of joints based on their range of motion:

  • Synarthrose- It is an immobile joint. These joints provide support to the structure.
  • Amphiarthroses- These are limited-range joints that provide stability and some degree of motion.
  • Diarthroses- In most planes, these joints can move freely. The majority of motion is made possible by these joints.

What is the Composition of joints?

The connective tissues that hold the bones in place within your joints are comprised of:

  • Cartilage
  • Tendons
  • Joints
  • Nerves

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Types Of Joints

According to the amount of connective tissue present, medical professionals divide joints into three groups:

  • Fibrous joints.
  • Cartilaginous joints
  • Synovial joints

 Fibrous Joints

There is limited flexibility in fibrous joints. A few of them remain still. As suggested by their name, they are composed of dense, closely woven fibrous connective tissue. Collagen tends to be abundant in fibrous joints.

Fibrous joints come in three different varieties, which include:

  • Sutures- These joints that keep the plates of your skull together 
  • Gomphoses- they are the joints in your mandibles, or jaw bones, which hold your teeth in place.
  • Syndesmoses: The joints that firmly attach two bones with close spacing to one another. Your tibia, or shin bone, and your fibula, or calf bone, are connected by a syndesmosis joint.

Cartilaginous Joints

A layer of cartilage sits in between the bones of cartilage-geometry joints, acting as av cushion. Most cartilaginous joints can move to some extent but with a restricted range of motion.

Cartilaginous joints connect your ribs to your sternum or breastbone. a cartilaginous junction is a joint that connects your left and right pelvic bones, known as the pubic symphysis.

Synovial joints

The largest range of mobility is seen in synovial joints. They consist of a single bone with a hollow space that's large enough to hold another bone. A synovial joint is composed of the ends of bones that have smooth hyaline cartilage covering them.

 The area between the bones is lined with the synovial membrane, a fluid-filled sac that lubricates and shields the joint. Synovial joints can move with the least amount of friction possible because of this additional cushioning.

There are six different kinds of synovial joints:

  • Hinge joints are one-way joints that have two positions: open and closed. The knee and elbow are examples of hinge joints.
  • A ball and socket joint is created when the rounded end of one bone slides into a depression in another bone. Their spinning and rotational motion is practically unlimited.  Shoulders and hips are examples of ball and socket joints.
  • Condyloid joints: Two oval-shaped bones that interlock make up condyloid joints. Though they can't spin all the way around, they function similarly to ball and socket joints. Your wrist and the joints joining your toes to the rest of your foot are examples of condyloid joints.
  • Pivot joints are those that pivot in one direction while remaining in the same location. You can tilt your head from side to side due to the pivot joint in your neck.
  • Planar joints: Planar joints are formed by the joining of two primarily flat bones. Without turning, they move by one bone fragment sliding over the other. Planar joints are those found between the vertebrae in your spine and the carpal bones that connect your wrist to your forearm.
  • Saddle joints: These are the result of the meeting of two curved bones. Imagine that two U-shaped bones fit into the curved area that separates them. Saddle joints are non-rotating and can move in any direction. Saddle joints are those that connect your thumb to your hand.

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What Are The Conditions That Can Affect Joints?

Your joints may be impacted by anything that damages your bones or connective tissue, including:

  • Arthritis.
  • Osteoarthritis.
  • Bursitis.
  • Tendinitis.
  • Osteoporosis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Psoriatic arthritis.
  • Lupus disease
  • Sjögren's syndrome.
  • Joint damage may result from traumas like falls and car crashes.
  • Sports-related injuries.
  • Broken bones.
  • Dislocation
  • Sprains

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What are the symptoms associated with joints?

The symptoms you feel will depend on the illness or damage you're dealing with. Many joint issues cause symptoms like these to appear.

  • Pain, especially when moving a joint.
  • Swelling, or edema.
  • Discoloration or redness close to a joint.
  • A sensation of heat
  • A sense of grinding.
  • A popping sensation or sound.

Which tests are performed on joints?

Depending on the symptoms you're having, other tests may be required. As soon as one of your joints starts to change or hurt more, make an appointment with a healthcare professional. When diagnosing joint problems, medical professionals frequently perform the following tests:

  • X-ray
  • Ultrasound
  • Joint aspiration
  • CT images.
  • MRI

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How should I take care of my joints?

Being healthy generally includes the best ways to maintain your joints, which include:

  • Following a diet that is good for your health.
  • Relocating and exercising. Everybody's body and needs are different. Water aerobics, swimming, cycling, strength training, and low-impact exercise are all excellent options. Your joint health and level of fitness will determine the best type of exercise for you. Find out from your doctor what form of exercise is most beneficial for your joints.
  • Using the proper safety equipment when participating in any work, sport, or activity.
  • Visiting a physician as soon as you notice any changes to your joints or for routine checks.

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