Hinge Joints in the Body: Definition, Movement & Examples

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Amy Lipsett

Amy works as a nurse educator for a university health care organization. She has a bachelor's of science in nursing and a master's degree in health care administration.

Some of the joints in your body are classified as hinge joints. In this lesson, you'll learn the definition of the movement of hinge joints and will be provided with some examples.


You are a nursing student trudging through copious amounts of new knowledge in your anatomy and physiology class and the next topic that you encounter is the types of joints in the body. The first type that your professor will focus on is the hinge joints. You pull out your notebook and begin to take notes, as you know that this lesson will be valuable in your future endeavors.

Joints synchronize movements of the human body. A joint is formed at the point where two or more bones meet and is classified by its structure and function. Hinge joints are classified under the structural category of synovial joints. Synovial joints have a cavity which contains synovial fluid and is surrounded by a fibrous capsule which also contains ligaments. Synovial joints also contain cartilage that covers the end of each bone. Hinge joints are classified under the functional category of a diarthrosis joint. A diarthrosis joint means that the joint is freely moveable.

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  • 0:04 Definition
  • 1:03 Movement
  • 1:53 Examples
  • 2:38 Lesson Summary
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Joints are further classified by their range of free motion. In this case, this means that a hinge joint can move along one axis to flex and extend, or bend and straighten. Hinge joints do not naturally rotate or move from side to side. However, these unnatural movements can occur if someone sustains an injury to a hinge joint. Hyperextension and rotational injuries are common with hinge joints. These types of injuries occur when a trauma exerts significant force that moves the joint beyond its natural axis.

Athletes who compete in contact sports are prone to hyperextension of the knee, which can result in soft tissue damage, swelling, and tears or strains to the ligaments that surround the knee. Often times, orthopedic providers can predict the severity of the injury based on the description of the trauma that was sustained by the joint.

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