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THE SKELETON. Objectives. Identify the bones that articulate at different joints in the body. Name the 6 types of synovial joint and give examples of each. Describe the structure and function of parts of a synovial joint. Be able to classify joints according the movement they allow.

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  • Identify the bones that articulate at different joints in the body.
  • Name the 6 types of synovial joint and give examples of each.
  • Describe the structure and function of parts of a synovial joint.
  • Be able to classify joints according the movement they allow.
  • Use technical language to describe common joint movements.
  • Analyse sporting techniques in terms of joint movements.
The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. Many of which move or hinge at joints. In conjunction with over 600 muscles these bones enable the human body to achieve a variety of movements.
  • The functions of the skeletal system include: -
  • To provide a lever system against which muscles can pull.
  • To provide a large surface area for the attachment of muscles.
  • To protect delicate organs such as the brain.
  • To give shape to the body.
  • To give support to the body.
  • To manufacture red blood cells and to store fat calcium and phosphate.
  • Click here- label the skeleton and print it out for you file
axial appendicular skeleton
  • The bones of the body are grouped into two major divisions.
  • The axial skeleton consists of the bones, which lie around the longitudinal axis of the body. These include the SKULL, VERTEBRAL COLUMN, STERNUM & RIBS.
  • The appendicular skeleton consists of the bones of the LIMBS, PECTORAL (shoulder) GIRDLE, & PELVIC (hips) GIRDLE.
  • Joints are where two or more bones articulate (move).
  • Joints are classified according to how much movement they allow.

1. Fibrous – these are fixed or immovable joints such as the cranium, sacrum and the coccyx.

2. Cartilaginous – these are slightly movable joints such as the vertebrae.

3.Synovial – these are freely movable joints such as the shoulder and hip.

synovial joints
Synovial joints
  • In PE these are the most important joints.
  • There are 6 types of synovial joint.

1.Ball & socket – hip and shoulder.

2. Hinge – knee, elbow and ankle.

3. Pivot – radio-ulna, atlas/axis.

4. Saddle – thumb.

5. Condyloid – wrist.

6. Gliding – between vertebrae in spine.

Click here and complete the matching exercise

ball socket joints
Ball & socket joints
  • The hip joint
  • The head of the femur fits into a deep cavity called the acetabulum on the pelvic bone.
  • This deep cavity gives the hip joint stability.
  • The presence of strong ligaments add to the stability making it difficult to dislocate the hip.
The shoulder joint
  • The head of the humerus fits into a shallow cavity on the scapula called the glenoid fossa.
  • The shoulder is the most mobile joint in the body but is also fairly unstable because of the shallow cavity.
  • Stability is improved by ligaments and muscles.
hinge joints
Hinge Joints
  • The knee joint
  • In the knee joint the femur articulates with the tibia.
  • The patella (knee cap) helps to give a better angle of pull.
  • The fibula is not part of the knee joint and so the tibia is the weight bearing bone.
The ankle joint

In the ankle the talus articulates with the tibia and fibula.

Ligaments provide stability to the joint.

The elbow joint

In the elbow the humerus articulates with the radius and the ulna.

Movement can only occur in one plane.

the pivot joint
The radio-ulna

In this joint the radius and ulna articulate within the elbow joint.

This joint allows the elbow some twisting movement (pronation & supination.


In this joint the atlas and axis bones articulate to allow a rotation movement as in shaking your head.

The pivot joint
condyloid and gliding joints
The wrist

In this joint the radius and ulna bones articulate with 3 of the carpal bones.

The spine

The spine has five areas and has to fulfil many functions such as weight bearing stability and support.

There are three type of joint in the spine but for A level the main one to know is the gliding joints between the vertebral arches.

Condyloid and gliding joints

What have you learnt?

Click here to complete exercise 1 [Quia]

Click here to open word document

Complete and add to your notes

features of a synovial joint
Features of a synovial joint
  • Synovial joint have a number of common features.
movements around a joint
Movements around a joint
  • All synovial joints can move freely but the amount and type of movements which occur at each joint varies.
  • Many of the movements occur in pairs – they are the opposite of each other.
  • Technical terms to describe the movements you need to know include:-
what have you learnt click on the links to review your learning

What have you learnt?Click on the links to review your learning

Walk the plank

Penalty shoot out

Fling the teacher

Crossword exercise