Comprehensive Analysis on Joint Structure & Function

Janice CarsonJanice Carson

Understanding the way that our joints are made helps understand more about how they work, what happens as they age, and why pain may occur.

Your body is made up of many different things, and your joints are among the most important. Without them, your body simply wouldn’t be able to move. Your bones are strong and support you, but imagine if your legs were just straight bones. Of course, like any other part of the body, joints can sometimes suffer damage or disease. Understanding more

Comprehensive Analysis on Joint Structure & Function

about joint structure is important for identifying why pain may occur and how to manage it.

First of all, realize that there are actually different types of joints. Your shoulders and hips, for instance, are a ball and socket joint that are freely moveable in multiple directions. Others are made of two joints butting together.

Basic joint structure involves a number of things, but it’s fairly easy to understand it. Two bones come to a connection point, their ends butting into one another. However, they don’t touch. Instead, something known as cartilage is located between the bones. This cartilage acts as a kind of cushion to keep the bones from rubbing against one another.

Surrounding the joint is also a membrane containing synovial fluid, which helps maintain lubrication. And the muscles around the bones help keep the bones in place and are responsible for moving the bones. Ligaments are the bands of tissue that actually connect the two ends of the bones together to form the joint, while tendons are the tissues that connect the muscles to the bones.

Basically, your joints act as a hinge and pivot back and forth. As they do, the cartilage cushions the impact and protects you against injury. That’s the basic joint function. But as you age and use your joints more and more, the cartilage begins to wear down. The body can’t maintain the level of cartilage for good and eventually it narrows. When this happens, bones may grate against one another. This is the basis of the condition known as osteoarthritis, and it triggers issues like inflammation, pain, stiffness, and more.

Your joint function may also be lessened when injuries occur in the tendons, muscles, or ligaments. In short, every tissue, membrane, or substance within the joint needs to function properly and remain healthy or else joint pain and swelling may occur. It’s important to promote good joint health to avoid serious problems.