synovial joint is qualified by the presence of a fluid-filled joint cavity had within a fibrous capsule.

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It is the many common kind of joint discovered in the huguy body, and also contains a number of frameworks which are not watched in fibrous or cartilaginous joints.

In this write-up we shall look at the anatomy of a synovial joint – the joint capsule, neurovascular structures and clinical correlationships.

Key Structures of a Synovial Joint

The three primary attributes of a synovial joint are: (i) articular capsule, (ii) articular cartilage, (iii) synovial fluid.

Articular Capsule

The articular capsule surrounds the joint and is constant through the periosteum of articulating bones.

It consists of 2 layers:

Fibrous layer (outer) – is composed of white fibrous tconcern, well-known the capsular ligament. It holds together the articulating bones and also supports the underlying synovium.Synovial layer (inner) – a extremely vascularised layer of serous connective tconcern. It absorbs and also secretes synovial liquid, and also is responsible for the mediation of nutrient exreadjust in between blood and also joint. Also recognized as the synovium.

Fig 1 – The basic structures of a synovial joint.

Articular Cartilage

The articulating surfaces of a synovial joint (i.e. the surencounters that straight call each other as the bones move) are covered by a thin layer of hyaline cartilage.

The articular cartilage has two primary roles: (i) minimising friction upon joint movement, and (ii) soaking up shock.

Synovial Fluid

The synovial fluid is located within the joint cavity of a synovial joint. It has 3 primary functions:

LubricationNutrient distributionShock absorption.

Articular cartilage is fairly avascular, and is reliant upon the passive diffusion of nutrients from the synovial fluid.

Accessory Structures of a Synovial Joint

Accessory Ligaments

The accessory ligaments are separate ligaments or components of the joint capsule.

They consist of bundles of dense consistent connective tissue, which is extremely adjusted for resisting strain. This resists any kind of too much motions that may damage the joint.


Fig 2 – The extracapsular ligaments of the hip joint; ileofeethical, pubofeethical and also ischiofeethical ligaments.


A bursa is a tiny sac lined by synovial membrane, and also filled through synovial liquid.

Bursae are situated at essential points of friction in a joint. They afford joints higher flexibility of activity, whilst protecting the articular surdeals with from friction-induced degeneration

They can come to be inflamed following infection or irritation by over-usage of the joint (bursitis).


Synovial joints have actually a wealthy supply from articular nerves.

The innervation of a joint deserve to be identified making use of Hilton’s Law‘the nerves supplying a joint also supply the muscles relocating the joint and also the skin covering their distal attachments.’

Articular nerves transmit afferent impulses, including proprioceptive (joint position) and nociceptive (pain) sensation


Arterial supply to synovial joints is via articular arteries, which arise from the vessels around the joint. The articular arteries are located within the joint capsule, mostly in the synovial membrane.

A prevalent attribute of the articular arterial supply is frequent anastomoses (communications) in order to encertain a blood supply to and also across the joint regardless of its place. In practice this commonly suggests arteries are over and also listed below a joint, curving round each side of it and also joining via little connecting vessels.

The articular veins acagency the articular arteries and also are additionally found in the synovial membrane.

Clinical Relevance: Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is the the majority of widespread develop of joint inflammation (arthritis). It stems from heavy use of articular joints over the course of many type of years, which can lead to the wearing ameans of articular cartilage, and often the erosion of the underlying articulating surencounters of bones as well.

The alters which happen are irreversible and also degenerative. This outcomes in the decreased efficiency of articular cartilage as a shock absorber and also lubricated surchallenge, and also the roughened edges leading to better damage.

As an outcome of this degeneration, repeated friction deserve to reason symptoms of joint pain, stiffness and also discomfort. This condition commonly affects joints that assistance full body weight, such as the hips and the knees.

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Arthritis have the right to also come around through various other causes, including; (i) as an outcome of infection, due to the ease via which blood (and also any kind of linked bacteria) have the right to enter the joint cavity using the synovial membrane; (ii) due to autoinflammatory causes, as in rheumatoid arthritis, or; (iii) as a result of infection but not entailing infection of the joint itself, as in reactive arthritis.