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Articular capsule

Recommended video: Types of synovial joints [18:19]
Synovial joints are the main type of joints found in the body.

An articular capsule, also called a joint capsule, is a double-layered connective tissue structure enclosing the joint cavity of a synovial joint. It is one of the three unique features of a synovial joint not present in fibrous or cartilaginous joints, along with synovial fluid and articular cartilage

The outer fibrous layer is composed of dense irregular collagenous connective tissue and functions to provide stability for the joint by holding the articulating bones together. The inner layer is composed of loose connective tissue known as the synovial membrane, which lines the entire joint cavity except for the articulating surfaces of the bones. The synovial membrane secretes synovial fluid which provides lubrication for the joint to reduce friction between the articulating bones. 

Ligaments associated with joints are also classified according to their relationship to the fibrous articular capsule. Ligaments located external to the articular capsule are termed extrinsic ligaments, ligaments fused to the the wall of the articular capsule are intrinsic ligaments, and ligaments inside of the articular capsule are intracapsular ligaments.

Terminology English: Articular capsule
Latin: Capsula articularis
Definition Double-layered connective tissue structure enclosing the joint cavity of a synovial joint
Function Protection, support and lubrication of synovial joints

Learn more about synovial joints with this study unit (and article):

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