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Fibrous Joint: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:00 What's a Joint?
  • 2:04 Types and Locations
  • 3:23 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sarah Phenix
In this lesson, you'll explore what a fibrous joint is, how it is classified, and what types of movement these joints allow. You'll also find how many forms of fibrous joints exist in the body and where they are located.

What's a Joint?

Joints are any point in the body where one bone articulates, or meets, with another. It's an extremely general term that includes everything from the most obvious joints, such as those in your elbows and your knees, to the less obvious joints, like those between your teeth and the bone socket in which they sit. Since these joints all vary so much in structure, movement scientists decided to make things easier by creating two categories: the structural classification and the functional classification, which further clarify the differences between these joints.

The structural classification divides all of the joints of the body into three groups based upon the type of tissue that forms the articulation point. While fibrous joints are joined by fibrous connective tissue and cartilaginous joints are joined by cartilage, synovial joints have a cavity filled with synovial fluid that lubricates the adjacent bones.

The functional classification refers to the functional movement, or range of movement, of the joints. Synarthrotic joints are the most stable and, therefore, the least flexible; in other words, they are a synthesis, or unit, of bone. Amphiarthrotic joints have limited mobility. Just like amphibians who live both on firm land and in fluid water, these joints are 'amphi,' which means they are both stable and somewhat flexible. Lastly, diarthrotic joints are the most flexible joints; they have 'di' (two) directions of flexibility. These joints account for any highly movable articulations, such as your hips, wrists, and knuckles.

With that being said, it makes sense that synovial joints, or those having lubricating synovial fluid, are diarthrotic, which means having the greatest range of movement. Fibrous joints (those connected by fibrous tissue) are mostly synarthrotic, (the most inflexible).

Types and Locations of Fibrous Joints

There are three subtypes of fibrous joints that differ according to the length of the collagen fiber attachment:

Sutures are joints found only in the skull and are formed by interlocking bones joined by very short collagen fibers. In the fetal skull, the bones are widely spaced and connected by longer collagen fibers. In the process of birth, the fibers allow the bones of the skull some movement and pliability. After birth, these spaces, known as 'soft spots' of the head, will begin to fill with bone deposits and ossify into sutures.

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