Cartilaginous Joints

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Chapter: Anatomy and Physiology for Health Professionals: Support and Movement: Articulations

1. Compare synchondroses with symphyses. 2. What term is a synonym for joint?

Cartilaginous Joints

Connected by hyaline cartilage or fibrocartilage, ­cartilaginous joints include those that separate the vertebrae. Each intervertebral disc is an example of a cartilaginous joint and has slight flexibility. Cartilag-inous joints also lack a joint cavity. The two types of cartilaginous joints are synchondroses and symphyses.


Synchondroses are plates or bars of hyaline ­cartilage uniting the bones. Nearly all synchondroses are synarthrotic. In children, the best example of synchondroses is the epiphyseal plates in the long bones. These plates are temporary joints, eventually becoming synostoses. The immovable joint between the manubrium of the sternum and the first rib’s cos-tal cartilage is another example.


Symphyses are joints where fibrocartilage unites bones (Figure 8-1). Fibrocartilage acts as a shock absorber because of its ability to be compressed and then recover its original shape. A limited amount of movement at the joint is allowed. Hyaline cartilage is also present in symphyses, as articular cartilage on bony surfaces. Symphyses are amphiarthrotic joints allowing flexibility but maintaining strength. Exam-ples include the pubic symphysis of the pelvis and the symphyses of the intervertebral joints.

1. Compare synchondroses with symphyses.

2. What term is a synonym for joint?

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