Functional Classification of Joints

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A joint is the site where two skeletal elements connect(1). Joints can be classified by both structure and function. Structural classifications are based on the type of connective tissue binding the structures together and whether a joint capsule is present(2, 3). There are three structural classifications of joints; fibrous, cartilaginous and synovial. Functional classifications are based on the amount of movement present(2). There are three functional classifications of joints; synarthroses which are immobile, amphiarthroses which are slightly mobile, and diarthroses which are freely mobile(3). Fibrous joints are classified as having articulating bones joined by dense regular connective tissue (mainly consisting of collagen) and no joint cavity(3). Majority of fibrous joints are synarthroses or amphiarthroses. The three types of fibrous joints are sutures, gomphoses, and syndesmoses. Sutures are synarthroses joints present on the skull(2). The sutural ligament which is composed of connective tissue fibers and is continuous with the periosteum joins the two skull bones(1,2). Sutures give strength and allow growth of the skull during childhood(3). Once growth has occurred the dense regular connective tissue becomes ossified and the bones fuse together(3). Gomphoses are synarthrosis joints that only occur between teeth and sockets of the mandible and maxillae(3). Collagen fibers in the periodontal ligament link the root of the tooth and the bony socket(1).
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