Learning Modules - Medical Gross Anatomy
Introduction to Joints - Page 2 of 22


Joints - Classification by Movement

Joints can be classified by how much movement they allow.

  • Synarthroses: Immovable joints. Specific examples of synarthroses are suture joints (the joints in the skull) and synchondroses (the type of joint found in growth plates).
  • Amphiarthroses: Slightly moveable joints. A specific example of an amphiarthrosis is a symphysis (such as the joint between two vertebrae).
  • Diarthroses: Freely moveable joints. Specific examples of diarthroses are typical synovial joints such as the shoulder and wrist.

We will discuss these specific examples in more detail later in the module.

An important concept to remember is that joint strength and flexibility are opposed. Greater joint strength comes at the cost of less flexibility and vice versa. The movement allowed at a particular joint depends on the shape of the bones and articular surfaces, the ligaments crossing the joint, and the muscles crossing the joint.

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