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The human body is one of the most complex machines where each cell or organ is designed to carry out its role to technical perfection. Ever wondered how you are able to bend your knees to sit down, raise your arm to lift an object or walk fast the way you do? Are you curious to know how our body is able to perform the gamut of movements and actions that we perform every day? The single most important factor behind all of the above is the role of Joints in the human body.

What exactly are joints and where in the body are they located, one may often ask. Joints are where two bones meet and which provide flexibility to the skeletal framework of our body. Without joints, the body’s movement making capability would be impossible. Most joints in the body are mobile and allow our bodies to move in specific ways. Some joints such as knees and elbows open and close like a hinge, whereas others, a shoulder or hip joint, for example, allow for more multi-dimensional movement such as backward, forward, sideways, and rotating movement.

Some of the typically most important joints in body are considered to be the knee, hip, and shoulder. They’re all constructed differently to balance the relationship between mobility and stability. While the shoulder joint is the most mobile joint in the body which allows your arms to move in any direction, the hip joint is the most stable which is what helps you in balancing yourself and forms the central fulcrum of your body.

Understanding the Joint Anatomy

Joint, as per biological definition is a structure that connects two or more adjacent elements of the skeletal system. Joints may be categorized based upon how much movement they allow:

  • Fibrous joints are immovable joints and offer stability and not movement. The dome of the skull, for example, is made of bony plates, which move slightly during birth and then fuse together as the skull finishes growing. Between the edges of these plates are links, or joints, of fibrous tissue. Fibrous joints for example, also hold the teeth in the jawbone.

  • Cartilaginous joints offer a little movement. They are linked by cartilage, as in the spine. Each of the vertebrae in the spine moves in relation to the one above and below it, and together these movements give the spine its flexibility. Spine is one of the most delicate yet important organ of the human body.

  • Synovial joints move in many directions. The main joints of the body such as those found at the hip, shoulders, elbows, knees, wrists, and ankles are freely movable. They are filled with synovial fluid, which acts as a lubricant to help the joints move easily and reduce friction.

While all the joints in the body play their own significant role in the body; the three kinds of freely movable synovial joints play a big part in voluntary movement:

  1. Hinge joints allow movement in only one direction, as seen in the knees and elbows.
  2. Pivot joints allow a rotating or twisting motion, like that of the head moving from side to side.
  3. Ball-and-socket joints are where the ball-shaped surface of one rounded bone fits into the cup-like depression of another bone and allow the greatest freedom of movement. The hips and shoulders have this type of joint.

Maintaining Healthy Joints

It is imperative that one must strive to maintain healthy joints in order to live an active and pain-free life. Today one is aware of the growing cases of joint complaints which hamper your day to day life. Work towards a healthy lifestyle and taking care of your body. The flexibility of some joints can be improved by doing stretching exercises, following an active routine, eating well, etc. Your overall flexibility is also determined by your build, age, level of fitness and other individual factors. If you detect any pain or difficulty in your joints, for example it could be pain the knee when jogging or a tingling in the hip joint even while you are sitting; consult with your orthopedic doctor who can advise you on how to best take care of your joints.


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