Joints are naturally designed to move through a wide range of motion when joints aren’t used, they tend to lose mobility and become rigid this is known as joint stiffness, the degree of stiffness depends on the amount of joint use and the quality of movement at that joint.
As chiropractors, we know how important it is to understand the biological processes that lead to health and disease, as a result, we have taken an in-depth look at FIX24 Joint Biomechanics from a chiropractor’s perspective.
This brief article will give you a high-level overview of the subject so you can begin thinking about ways you can incorporate these concepts into your practice today!
What is Joint Biomechanics?
The study of joints as biological systems is that joints are formed by the interaction of articular cartilage, synovial fluid, and bone.
Cartilage is a highly dynamic tissue that is subject to high stresses at the joint boundary it is, therefore, prone to wear and tear, the synovial fluid provides a medium for movement and shear between the joint surfaces.
It also provides a lubricating effect between the cartilage surfaces and helps to reduce wear at the joint boundary, the bone provides structural support for the joint and is coated with a rough, callous-like surface to facilitate bone-to-bone attachments.
Joint Movement and Stiffness
Joints are able to move through a wide range of motion when movement is limited, joint stiffness is increased.
When movement is extensive, joint flexibility is increased, joint stiffness is the main cause of joint pain and joint flexibility is the main cause of reduced joint motion.
Biomechanical Principles of Joints
At an anatomical level, the basic principles of joint biomechanics are the same in all joints the key difference between one joint and another is the amount of movement allowed between the surfaces of the joint, and how much synovial fluid is present to provide lubrication.
When joints are unused, they become stiff and immobile, joints allow movement between bones which are covered by cartilage which is covered by synovial fluid.
Synovial fluid that is not moving between the surfaces causes friction and wear on the joints, and the cartilage layer that covers the ends of the bones is not smooth, it is covered with a thin layer of bone and is known as chondrocyte hypertrophy, which provides extra rigidity to the joint.
How do I Use Joint Biomechanics in Practice?
The key to using joint biomechanics in practice is to understand the biological principles behind joint health and disease once you know these concepts, you can begin to assess your patients’ joint health and help them take steps to prevent joint stiffness and pain.
One of the first steps to take is to understand the types of joints that are found in the human body there are three types of joints in the human body:
Cartilaginous Joints these joints are found mostly in the knee and shoulder they are covered with a protective layer of cartilage which is flexible, but not very mobile.
Bone-Covered Joints, the bones in these joints are covered by a callus bone unlike cartilaginous joints, these joints are not as flexible and mobile.
Bone-less, the bones in these joints are not covered by a callus bone, bone-less joints are found in the fingers and toes.