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Types of synovial joints: want to learn more about it?

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Types of synovial joints

Learning objectives

Working through this study unit will allow you to:

  1. Name the 6 types of synovial joints.
  2. Identify examples for each synovial joint type.
  3. Discover the axes of movement allowed by each type of synovial joint.

Watch video

Synovial joints are freely movable joints. They give the human body its mobility. There are 6 different types of synovial joints, each of which is named for its shape. The movements allowed at a synovial joint are determined by the shape of the articulating bone ends, along with the joint capsule, its supporting ligaments and the muscles that cross the joint.

Take a quiz

Now that you’ve watched the video, test what you have learned with our tailored synovial joints type quiz! And if you want to test your broader terminology knowledge, give the custom quiz a go.

Browse atlas

Now that you’re familiar with the differences between the various types of synovial joints, explore each one in detail with the atlas gallery.


Key points
Six types of synovial joints Plane, pivot, hinge, saddle, ellipsoid, ball and socket
Examples of synovial joints Plane joint: acromioclavicular joint, intercarpal joints
Pivot joint: median atlantoaxial joint, radioulnar joints
Hinge joint: elbow joint, knee joint, ankle joint
Saddle joint: carpometacarpal joint of thumb
Ellipsoid joint: radiocarpal joint, metacarpophalangeal joints
Ball and socket joint: hip joint, shoulder joint
Axes of movement Nonaxial: plane joints
Uniaxial: pivot joints, hinge joints
Biaxial: saddle joints, ellipsoid joints
Multiaxial: ball and socket joints

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Learn about the different elements that make up a synovial joint in this study unit.

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