Common Joint Functions and Dysfunctions

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

Understanding more about the overall functions and dysfunctions of joints as we age is an important part of managing joint related problems.

Our joints are vital for our daily activities. They’re also one of the things that we usually take for granted until issues arise. But when those issues do show up, it quickly becomes obvious that managing joint related issues is important. First, it’s a good idea to understand more about the basic functions of joints.

Common Joint Functions and DysfunctionsJoints are locations where two bones make contact with one another. Taking a look at the structure of them will help make it easy to understand their functionality.

  • Synovial joints are those that aren’t directly joined. There’s a cavity between them, and they’re surrounded by connective tissue but not technically connected.
  • Cartilaginous joints are joined together by cartilage
  • Fibrous joints are connected by connective tissue.

Joints are also grouped by their degree of mobility, which ranges from little mobility to full mobility. Knees, hips, elbows, and other similar joints are known as diarthrosis and are the most common type of joints people think of when they hear the term.

The dysfunctions of joints are much more varied, and can be caused by many different problems. The most common sufferers of joint trouble are older, and as we age a number of specific issues become more common including:

  • Arthritis is the most common problem the joints face. It’s an issue that is characterized by inflammation and stiffness and is usually brought on by degeneration of the cartilage within the joint.
  • Gout is an issue that occurs when uric acid builds up and deposits crystals within the joints which cause severe pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Osteoporosis may also trigger joint trouble, particularly when the bones in the joint become weak and brittle.

Younger patients experience problems as well, though they’re most commonly associated with overuse or injury than with disease or aging. Common issues include:

  • Tendinitis is actually a problem that is caused by the inflammation of a tendon. It’s usually due to overuse or strain.
  • Bursitis is a swelling of the bursa sacs that surround a joint and causes pain and limited mobility.
  • Other injuries range from a sprain to a torn ligament to serious issues like bone shards deposited after a serious injury.

Identifying the specific issue you face should only be done by a physician. From there, you’ll be able to start determining which options are the right ones for you to use to overcome your condition.