Understanding the Different Joint Types and Why They Can Cause Pain

Understanding the Different Joint Types and Why They Can Cause Pain

Joints are where two bones meet, and there are different types. Your hip is a ball and socket joint, your knee a hinge joint, and you may even know that facet joints connect your vertebrae. But have you ever considered what about joints that don’t move? 

The experts at Apex Medical Center specialize in helping patients manage their pain, including joint pain. Joint pain can develop for numerous reasons, but understanding the cause of your joint pain can help you learn what you need to do to minimize it. This post looks at the different categories of joints and types within those categories. 

Two classifications

Joints are categorized in two different ways: histologically and functionally. Histology involves the tissues that connect joints, while functionality involves how they move.

Histological classification

Three categories of histological classification exist. A joint can be fibrous, cartilaginous, or synovial. A fibrous joint is immobile, such as the joints in your skull. 

Cartilaginous joints attach with cartilage. For example, where your ribs meet your spine, they are connected by cartilage. The facet joints in your spine are also cartilaginous and provide cushioning and shock absorption. 

Synovial joints are those we think of most commonly when we think about joints. They move freely and have a joint cavity where the bones meet. A fibrous connective tissue encapsulates that cavity, and it is lubricated by synovial fluid. 

Functional classification

Joints are also classified according to how they function. Those categories are: 

The two different types of classification, histological and functional, correlate. Synarthrosis joints are fibrous, amphiarthrosis joints are cartilaginous, and diarthrosis joints are synovial. 

Joint types and pain

Joint pain occurs most commonly in cartilaginous and synovial joints. Osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, involves the deterioration of the cartilage in a joint. Without the cushioning of the cartilage, bones rub against each other, causing pain, tenderness, and swelling. 

In synovial joints, pain occurs when synovitis or membrane inflammation produces synovial fluid. It can be due to overuse or an inflammatory arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis. 

Injuries that damage joints can also lead to joint pain, regardless of the joint's classification. You may also have a condition such as bursitis, tendinitis, or a sprain or strain that can lead to joint pain. 

Expert advice

When experiencing joint pain, you must get a diagnosis and treatment plan from a highly qualified care provider, such as the experts at Apex Medical Center. Although some of the underlying causes of joint pain can't be cured, treatments exist that can ease your symptoms. 

Schedule your appointment today to discover why your joints hurt and what you can do about it. 

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