Cartilaginous joints


Joints which allow limited movement or respond to twisting and compression by permitting “give” to prevent injury are typically cartilaginous joints. These joints are separately classified in two individual groups, the symphyses and the sychondroses.



When two bones of a symphysis joint meet they are roofed via hyaline cartilage. Fibrocartilage is then formed as a protective padding when the hyaline cartilage becomes saturated with collagenous fibers. This form of protective padding provides protection while simultaneously allowing limited motion.

The inter-vertebral joints that are formed by the inter-vertebral disks are a good example of this process and joint. Each individual joint throughout the inter-vertebral junctures are only able to achieve limited motion. However, as a while vertebral column, these small ranges of motion adds up to form the large scale motion the spine is capable of.


Cartilaginous Joints
Image: Cartilaginous Joints


Cartilaginous joints which have layers of hyaline cartilage between the adjoining bones are known as sychondroses joints. Many of these joints are only temporary and are typically found in the growth areas on bodies which have not yet fully developed. As growth plates mature and begin to fuse, these joints become far fewer in number throughout an adult body.

The process of ossification refers to when the bones fuse together. Many of these joint ossify to create one bone, which is then referred to as synostosis. Not all of these joints will go through the ossification process and some will be left behind in a adult body.

These include the joints which are responsible for connecting the bones of the floor of the cranium and the sides of the cranium as well as the joints between the occipital, the sphenoid, the temporal, and the ethmoid bones. The rib cage contains examples of sychondroses joints between the ends of the ribs and the costal cartilage that attaches these ribs to the sternum. In cases of elderly individuals, it is not uncommon for these joints to begin or even complete the ossification process and can restrict the movements associated with the ribcage.
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