Gliding Joint Examples: Even though we all know we move, the process of HOW we do so is not completely understood by most of us. For us to move or do anything at all, we rely on many physiological systems working together. Our ability to move becomes greatly hindered if any of these biological systems become dysfunctional. As an individual, you have several physiological systems that drive and control your ability to move. Today, we will examine one such system that is extremely important for balance and fine motor control.

It is well known how important joints are to our ability to move. In particular, this applies to anyone who has suffered joint injuries in the past. You can be quite surprised how a small part of your body can control such amazing and significant ranges of motion, while also causing problems when it is damaged. A joint, also known as an articular surface or articulation, is a connecting point between bones in the body. The skeleton functions as a functional whole thanks to the joints.

They are responsible for the gliding motion of the joint where they are located. We are going to focus on a particular type of joint in the following paragraphs. The gliding joint is the type of joint we are going to discuss.

What Is Gliding Joint?

Planar joints, also known as gliding joints or plane joints, form between bones that are flat or nearly flat at the points of contact. The bones can move past each other across the plane of the joint in any direction – up and down, left and right, and diagonally. There is also the possibility of slight rotations at these joints, but these are limited by the shape of the bones and the flexibility of the joint capsule.

Gliding Joint Examples
Gliding Joint Examples

To prevent injuries, synovial joints provide gliding joints with flexibility along with a limit on their movement. Joint capsules are lined with synovial membranes, which produce oily synovial fluid to lubricate and reduce friction. Fibrous joint capsules and associated ligaments keep the bones from sliding and prevent them from dislocating. The cartilage between your bones provides a smooth, rubbery surface that works both as a cushion during impacts and as a glide aid.

The appendicular skeleton has numerous gliding joints between the carpal and metacarpal bones of the wrist, the tarsal bones of the ankle, and the tarsal and metatarsal bones of the foot. Hands and feet are able to move smoothly due to the flattened facets between the small bones. One of the gliding joints of the shoulder is the acromioclavicular (AC) joint, which increases the shoulder’s flexibility and provides a pivot point for shoulder elevations and depressed positions.

Additionally, the axial skeleton forms sliding joints throughout the neck and trunk to enhance these regions’ flexibility. Two sets of gliding joints in the thoracic region, one along the sternum (breast bone) and one along the vertebral column, allow the ribs to rise and fall slightly and change the volume of the thoracic cavity. Performing the vital process of breathing requires slight movements of the ribs.

At the intervertebral joints, there is another set of gliding joints between the facets of the twenty-six vertebrae. As these joints glide, the trunk can flex, extend, lateral flex, and rotate while the vertebral column remains strong, supporting the weight of the body and protecting its spinal cord.

Gliding Joint Examples

Joints are mainly divided into structural joints and functional joints. Joints are classified as structural or functional based on how they attach to each other. A structural joint is determined by the manner in which the bones are attached, while a functional joint is determined by the degree and type of joint movement allowed between the articulating bones. There are plenty of joints that fall between these two classifications. Gliding joints are usually classified as functional joints.

  • Ankle Joint
  • Wrist Joints
  • Zygapophyseal Joints

Ankle Joints: Ankle joints are composed of several gliding joints. Mainly the ankle consists of the fibula and tibia bones in your lower leg, as well as the tarsal bone in your foot. Several gliding joints are also found between the tarsal bones.

Wrist Joints: The wrists have even more joints that glide. Carpal bones are found in two layers on the wrist. Trapezoid, trapezium, hamate, and capitate are the first layer of carpal bones closest to the fingers. The lunate, triquetrum, pisiform, and scaphoid bones make up the second layer of carpal bones, closest to the bones in the forearm. Each of these bones has several gliding joints that allow the wrist to make complex joint movements.

Zygapophyseal Joints: The zygapophyseal joints are the gliding joints that are located between the articular processes of the spine. They enable the spine to move and remain stable.


There are three types of motion possible at a gliding joint: linear motion, for instance smooth sliding of bone past bone (this is why the joints seem to glide), angular movement, such as bending and stretching, and circular movement. Gliding joints are formed by the ends of bone joining. This enables them to slide, bend, and twist.

Role In Human Health

In relation to human health, gliding joints (as well as the other types of synovial joints) allow the skeleton to move freely and provide flexibility.

Common Diseases And Disorders

The gliding joints (and the other joints) can be affected by such conditions as the following:

  • Ankylosis: Fusing of bones across a joint. Arthritis often causes this problem.
  • Ankylosing spondylitis: The progressive form of inflammatory arthritis that leads to ankylosis is known as ankylosing spondylitis. Most often, it affects males in their teens.
  • Capsulitis: Inflammation of the membrane capsule that produces and encloses the synovial fluid.
  • Dislocation: The displacing of a bone from its normal position, causing tendons to stretch and strain.
  • Neoplasms: Abnormal growths (neoplasms) involving the gliding joints are rare. Usually, such growths are benign (noncancerous) growths of cartilage or tendons at the joints of the wrists. Sarcoma of the synovial membrane capsule resembles a cancerous (malignant) growth of cells that are found there. Young adults have large joints in which it is found on the surface of bone contacts.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: A common form of chronic inflammation of the joints. Joints become swollen, stiff, the temperature is elevated, and there is redness. Joint disease is caused by the destruction of bone, cartilage, and ligaments.

Frequently Asked Questions About Gliding Joint Examples

Where is the gliding joint present in the body?
Between the tarsal bones and the carpal bones are glide joints. Elbows, knees, and ankles are examples of hinge joints. Atlas and axis form a pivot joint. One example of a saddle joint is the joint between the metacarpal and carpal thumb of the hand.

What are the major gliding joints?
Joints with articular surfaces that permit gliding or sliding motion only. There are examples of acromioclavicular joints between the scapula and the acromion together (between the acromion and the clavicle).

What bones make up a gliding joint?
At the ankle, there is the joint formed by the two bones of your foot and the fibula and tibia in the lower part of your leg. There are also other gliding joints located between the tarsal bones as well.

Are the gliding joint is present in?
The sliding joint occurs between the surfaces of two flat bones that are held together by ligaments. In your wrists and ankles, some bones glide against each other.

What movements can a gliding joint do?
Gliding joints can move in three different directions: linearly, such as bone sliding over bone in an effortless motion (hence the name “gliding” joint), angularly, such as bending and stretching, and circularly.

What is a double gliding joint?
The double synovial joints connect the mandible’s condylar processes to the temporal bones of the skull. They function as upper gliding joints and lower hinge or ginglymoid joints and are connected by an articular disk.

What sports use gliding joints?
In addition to gliding joints, there are also six synovial joints with flat or curved surfaces. These can be found on the tarsal bones, carpal bones, or vertebrae. Joints During Exercise These are commonly performed exercises like walking, running, biking, and swimming use a variety of synovial joints.

Is the ankle a gliding joint?
Gliding joints move in one plane against each other. Intervertebral joints and wrist and ankle bones are among the major gliding joints.