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KS4 Physical

Joints, Tendons and Ligaments

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Learning objectives

What we will learn in this presentation:

Learning objectives

What joints are

Classifying joints as fixed, slightly moveable and
freely moveable
The 3 types of connective tissue and their functions
The different types of synovial joint and how they
are used in various sporting movements
The structure of different joints
Analysing joint functions in different movements
How joints and flexibility are effected by physical
activity and age.

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Joint movement what are joints?

A joint is a place where two or

more bones meet.
Without joints, our bodies
would not be able to move.
Joints, along with the skeleton
and muscular system, are
responsible for the huge range
of movement that the human
body can produce.
There are several different
types of joint, each producing
different types and amounts of

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Different types of joint

There are 3 different types of joint:

1. Immovable (or fixed) joints

2. Slightly movable joints

3. Movable (or synovial) joints

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1. Fixed or immovable joints

There are fewer than 10 immovable joints in the body.

They are sometimes called fibrous joints because the
bones are held together by tough fibres.

Immovable joints can be found

in the skull and pelvis, where
several bones have fused
together to form a rigid

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2. Slightly movable joints

Slightly movable joints are

sometimes called cartilaginous
bone The bones are separated by a
cushion of cartilage. The joints
between the vertebrae in the
cartilage spine are cartilaginous joints.
The bones can move a little bit,
but ligaments stop them moving
too far. This is why we can bend,
straighten and rotate through the
ligaments back, but not too far.

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3. Freely movable or synovial joints

90% of the joints in the body are

synovial joints. They are freely
Synovial joints contain synovial
fluid which is retained inside a
pocket called the synovial
membrane. This lubricates or Synovial
oils the joint. fluid
All the moving parts are held
together by ligaments. Synovial
These are highly mobile joints,
like the shoulder and knee.

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Different types of joint

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Connective tissues

Connective tissues are vital to the functioning of joints.

There are 3 types of connective tissue:

Ligaments are
Tendons connect tough, elastic
muscles to bones. fibres that link
bones to bones.

Cartilage prevents the ends

of bones rubbing together at
joints. Its slippery surface also
helps to lubricate the joint.

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Tendons and ligaments

Ligaments are responsible for holding joints

together. They prevent bones moving out of
position during the stresses of physical activity.
If they are pulled or twisted too far by extreme
physical movements, ligaments can tear and
the joint may dislocate.

Tendons anchor muscles to bones, allowing the muscles

to move the skeleton. Tendons are not very elastic
if they were, then the force produced by muscles
would be absorbed instead of creating movement.
Tendons can also be torn if subjected to too much force.

Ligaments and tendons are strengthened by training.

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Tendons and ligaments

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Freely movable (synovial) joints

The joint capsule is an outer

sleeve that protects and
holds the knee together. Synovial
The synovial membrane
lines the capsule and secretes
synovial fluid a liquid Synovial
which lubricates the joint, Cartilage Tibia membrane
allowing it to move freely.
Joint capsule
Smooth coverings of cartilage at
the ends of the bones stops them
rubbing together and provide some
shock absorption.
Ligaments hold the bones together and keep them in place.

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Types of synovial joints

In ball and socket joints, the

rounded end of one bone fits
inside a cup-shaped ending
on another bone.

Ball and socket joints allow movement
in all directions and also rotation.
The most mobile joints in the body are
ball and socket joints.
Examples: Shoulders and hips.

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Types of synovial joints

Pivot joints have a ring of bone

that fits over a bone protrusion,
around which it can rotate.
These joints only allow rotation.


Examples: The joint between the

atlas and axis in the neck which
allows you to shake your head.

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Types of synovial joints

In saddle joints, the ends of the two

bones fit together in a special way,
allowing movement forwards and
backwards and left to right, but not
Examples: The thumb is the only one.

Hinge joints as their name

suggests only allow forwards
and backwards movement.
Examples: The knee and elbow. Elbow

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Types of synovial joints

Condyloid joints have an oval-shaped

bone end which fits into a
correspondingly shaped bone end.
They allow forwards, backwards,
left and right movement, but not
Examples: between the
metacarpals and phalanges in the hand.

Gliding joints have two flat faces

of bone that slide over one another.
They allow a tiny bit of movement
in all directions.
Examples: between the tarsals in the ankle.
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Types of synovial joints

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Synovial joints sporting examples

During the butterfly stroke,

the ball and socket joint of
the shoulder allows the
swimmers arm to rotate.

You might head a football using

the pivot joint in your neck, which
allows your head to rotate.

What type of joint allows a handball

players fingers to spread apart so that
they can control the ball with one hand?

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Synovial joints sporting examples

The saddle joint allows the

thumb to curl around a canoe
paddle to give a firm grip.

The hinge joint at the knee allows

the leg to flex and extend, for
example when a hurdler extends
their trail leg at take-off and then
flexes it as they clear the hurdle.

Can you think of a sporting movement that

involves the gliding joints between the tarsals?

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Joint movement how do we move?

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Working with a partner:

Take it in turns to demonstrate a simple sporting

movement, for example performing a biceps curl or
taking a step forward.
Together, analyse the movement and decide what
types of movement are occurring at each joint.

Now take it in turns to name a joint. Ask your

partner to demonstrate and name all of the
movements possible at that joint.
For example, the hinge joint at the elbow shows
flexion, extension and slight rotation.

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The structure of the knee joint (hinge)

The knee is a very large and complex joint.

You need to know the details of how it works.
The femur is hinged on the
tibia so that the leg can be Femur
bent (flexion) and
straightened (extension).
Cruciate ligaments bind the
bones together by crossing
inside the joint.
Other ligaments act to stabilise
the joint. Tibia
The patella increases the
leverage of the thigh muscle.

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The structure of the elbow joint (hinge)

The elbow is another complex

hinge joint. The hinge between the Humerus
humerus and ulna allows the arm
to bend and straighten. Radius
The elbow also has a pivot joint
between the ulna and radius which
allows us to rotate the lower arm
while keeping the upper arm still.
A gliding action occurs between the
humerus and radius. Ulna
The whole joint is encased in a
synovial capsule and held together
by ligaments.

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The structure of the hip joint (ball and socket)

The hip joint is a large ball and

Pelvis socket joint.
The head of the femur (long
bone), which is shaped like a
ball, fits into the socket (shaped
like a cup) of the pelvis.

The bones are covered in

cartilage and reinforced
with ligaments.

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The structure of the shoulder joint (ball and socket)

The head of the humerus Scapula

is shaped like a ball and
fits into the cup-shaped Humerus
socket of the scapula.
The bones are covered in
cartilage and held together
with ligaments. Ball and socket
come apart
The shoulder joint has more
freedom to move than the hip
joint and is capable of a greater
variety of movement.
However, this means it can
dislocate more easily.
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Sacro-iliac joint

The sacro-iliac joint is

an example of a ilium
synovial joint, that
allows little
movement. sacro-iliac
It allows slight
rotation of the sacrum
against the hip bones
(ilium). sacrum

It helps to absorb some to the

forces produced by activities
like jumping and landing.

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Name the bones in these joints

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Other synovial joints

Look at this cricketer making a catch.

Task try to work out the movements at each joint.
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Wrist, fingers and ankles

The wrist is more than just a hinge

joint it can perform many complex
movements, including flexion,
extension, abduction and adduction.
The fingers can be made into a fist
(flexion) or straightened (extension).
The fingers can be spread (abduction)
or brought close together (adduction).

The ankle is another complex hinge joint.

The foot can bend down and bend up.
It can also slide turn out (eversion) and in
(inversion), as a result of gliding action
between the tarsal bones.
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Joint movement

Joints enable us to make an extremely wide range of

movements under our conscious control.
The different types of joints allow us to move in many
different ways and to perform many different actions.
Consider this dancer.
The hinge joints at her
elbows and her right knee
are extended.
Her left knee is flexed.
There is abduction at her
shoulders and right hip.
The spine shows extension
as the head moves back.

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Sporting movement

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Joint and movement analysis

Analyse the joint movements involved in these
two sports actions.
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Joints in action

Image EMPICS Ltd

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Joints and sport

Joint flexibility is important in sport, especially in activities

like gymnastics and diving that require extreme movements.
Participants in all sports however, can benefit from the
greater range of movement that comes with improved
Flexibility exercises increase
the range of movement at joints.
This can reduce the risk of
injury and damage as the joints
are more able to absorb forces.
However, overstretching joints
can cause injury to them.

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Joints and old age

Most peoples flexibility deteriorates as they get older.

This is because the connective tissues around the joints
become less elastic.
Flexibility exercises and extended
warm-ups before exercise can
help, but ultimately, it becomes
harder and harder to maintain the
same levels of flexibility. Young gymnasts benefit
Some people, especially older from good flexibility.
individuals, may develop arthritis a disease that causes
pain, stiffness and inflammation around joints.
It is usually hereditary, but injured joints that have not
healed properly can be more prone to arthritis.

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Exam-style questions

1. This diagram shows a cross

section of the knee. b
a) Name bones a, b and c. a
b) Name substance d.
c) List the types of movement d
possible at the knee. c
d) Explain the role of cartilage in
the functioning of the knee.

2. Explain how age affects joint flexibility and suggest a

way in which flexibility can be improved.

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Can you remember all these keywords?

Joint a place where two or more bones meet.

Flexibility the range of movement possible at a joint.
Ligaments strong, elastic fibres that join bones together.
Tendons non-elastic fibres that attach muscles to bones.
Cartilage connective tissue found at the ends of bones to
protect them and enable smooth movement.
Flexion the action causing a limb to bend.
Extension the action of a joint / limb straightening.
Abduction the action of a limb moving outwards, away from
the body.
Adduction the action of a limb moving in, towards the body.
Rotation the action of a limb turning around.

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