Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 30


Arthros = joint; Logos = study; Syn = together; Desmos = ligament (Held together by
ligaments). Arthrology is the study of joints. An articulation or joint is formed by the union of
two or more bones or cartilages by other tissue. Bone is the fundamental part of most joints. In
some cases, a bone and a cartilage or two cartilages form a joint. The uniting medium is chiefly
fibrous tissue or cartilage or a mixture of these.
Joints are classified (1) anatomically, according to their mode of development, the nature
of uniting medium and the form of joint surfaces; (2) physiologically, with regard to the nature
and extent of movement or absence of mobility in them; and (3) by a combination of both.
Joints vary in both structure and arrangement and are often specialized for certain
functions. However, joints have certain common structural and functional features and are
classified into three types.
1. Fibrous joint (Synarthrosis or Fixed joint or Immovable joint)
2. Cartilaginous joint (Amphiarthrosis)
3. Synovial joint (Diarthrosis)
I. Fibrous Joint
The segments are united by fibrous tissue and no movement is permitted in them. There
is no joint cavity. Most of these joints are temporary, the uniting medium being invaded by the
process of ossification and results in synostosis.
Classification of fibrous joints
1. Suture: This term is applied to the joints of the skull in which the adjacent bones are closely
united by the fibrous tissue, the sutural ligament or a narrow seam of cartilage from which the
bones keep growing. As soon as the bones have reached their final size, these seams ossify
and sutures are lost.
There are four types of sutures:-
a. Sutura serrata: The edges of the bones have irregular interlocking margins (eg. Interfrontal
b. Sutura squamosa: The edges are beveled and overlapped (eg. Parieto-squamous temporal
c. Sutura plana or sutura harmonia: The edges are plane or slightly roughened (eg. Internasal
suture, suture between the horizontal plates of palatine bone)
d. Sutura foliata: The edges of a bone fit into a fissure of an adjacent bone (eg. Fronto-
sphenoid suture). When extreme stability is required, foliate sutures are seen.

2. Syndesmosis
Fibrous joint seen between the shafts of long bones. Here the uniting medium is
connective tissue. If it is extensive, as in between radius and ulna, it is inter-osseous membrane.
(eg. Union of shafts of metacarpal bones, attachments to each other of costal cartilages,
between tibia and fibula). The original material undergoes ossification with advancing age (ie.
3. Gomphosis
This refers to the implantation of the teeth in the alveoli by the periodontal membrane or
alveolar periosteum. It is not a joint at all, since the teeth are not considered as a part of
II. Cartilaginous Joint
The bones of the cartilaginous joint are united by fibrocartilage or hyaline cartilage or a
combination of both. The amount and kind of joint are determined by the shape of the joint
surfaces and amount and pliability of the uniting medium.
Classification of cartilaginous joints
1. Synchondrosis (Hyaline cartilaginous joint/ Primary cartilaginous joint)- The hyaline cartilage
that joins the bones is a persistent part of embryonic cartilaginous skeleton. The opposing bones
are connected by hyaline cartilage. Eg. Epiphysis and diaphysis of a long bone are united by
a cartilaginous epiphyseal plate in the young. Osseous fusion occurs in adulthood and a joint
no longer exists. Another examples are occipito- sphenoid articulation, fusion at acetabulum,
costo-chondral synchondrosis, intermandibular synchondrosis in horse and pig.
2. Symphysis / Fibrocartilagenous joint / Secondary cartilaginous joint – Bones are united by
fibrocartilage. Eg. Pelvic symphysis, between the bodies of the vertebrae, intermandibular
symphysis in dog and ox. A limited and variable amount of movement may exist.
III. Synovial Joint / Diarthrodial / Movable / True joint.
These are characterized by the presence of a joint cavity with a synovial membrane, the
joint capsule and by their mobility. A simple joint is the one formed by two articular surfaces. A
composite joint is the one formed by several articular surfaces.


1. Articular surface:

These are smooth and vary much in form. It is formed of specially dense compact bone.
In certain cases, the surface is interrupted by non-articular cavities known as synovial fossa (eg.
Acetabular fossa).

2. Articular cartilage:
Hyaline in type, form a covering over the articular surfaces of the bones. They vary in
thickness in different joints depending upon the pressure and friction. ie. on the concave
articular surface, thickest at the periphery, and on convex surfaces thickest at the centre. They
are avascular, very smooth and have a bluish tinge in the fresh state. The articular cartilage is
traversed by fine fibrils, which are arranged in the direction of greatest tension when the joint
bears weights. Its elasticity gives a high degree of adaptability to the articular surfaces, thus
providing them with the ability to absorb shocks. If the articular cartilage is destroyed or lost by
some reason, then fissures appear in the areas of bared bone. In ungulates, the articular
surfaces of several joints have pit-like depressions devoid of cartilage. These are synovial
fossae and here the bone is covered by a thin membrane of connective tissue.
3. Articular capsule / Joint capsule: It is a tube and originates from the periosteum at the
margins of the articular surfaces, thus encloses the joint cavity. It consists of an outer tough
fibrous layer, the membrana fibrosa and an inner synovial layer, the membrana synovialis or
synovial membrane. The fibrous layer or capsular ligament is attached to the margins of articular
surfaces and its thickness varies according to the mechanical demands made upon it. The
synovial membrane lines the joint cavity except where it is bounded by the articular cartilages.
It is a thin membrane and is richly supplied by blood vessels and nerves. Its inner surface is

covered, often incomplete, by squamous cells derived from fibroblasts. It forms synovial joint
cavity. Then synovial membrane secretes a fluid, the synovia which act as a joint lubricant and
has an absorptive function. Synovia is a clear, ambour coloured tenacious fluid, which contains
mucin and desquamated cellular elements, especially fat cells. It just moistens the cartilage and
reduces friction; it serves as a source of nutrients to the articular cartilage. The synovial
membrane forms infoldings known as synovial villi. Dislodged or indurated synovial villi may be
found free in the joint cavity where they are called as free bodies or “joint mice”.

4. Joint ligaments: Consists of strong, regular connective tissue. The function of these
ligaments is to hold together the bones constituting the joint and to guide their movements / to
check the extent of the movement. 3 types of ligaments: (1) Extra capsular ligaments or
periarticular ligaments: They may be frequently blended with the capsule or seen as distinct one.
Eg. Collateral ligament. (2) Intracapsular ligaments or intra-articular ligaments: these are seen
within the fibrous capsule between the synovial membrane and the fibrous capsule. (3)
Interosseous ligaments connect directly opposed surfaces of bones. In many places, muscles,
tendons and thickenings of the fasciae function as ligaments and increase the security of the
5. Articular discs and Menisci: These are fibrocartilaginous plates placed inside the joint
cavity. They are considered to be the remains of the original interstitial tissue which fills the joint
cleft during embryonic development. If they completely separate the cavity into two (as in
temporo-mandibular joint) they are known as articular disc; if they only partially separate the
cavity and are sickle-shaped (as in stifle joint), they are called menisci. They act as shock-
6. Marginal cartilages or articulum labrum: They are hard, fibrous, ring-like structures which
encircle the rim of the articular cavity and enlarge it. They too also act as shock absorbers.
They tend to prevent fracture of the margin. Eg. Acetabulum.
7. Vessels and Nerves: Arteries form as anastamosis around the larger joints and give off
branches to the extremities of the bones and to the joint capsule. Veins form plexuses around
the joint. They are supplied by lymph vessels and nerve fibres as special nerve endings.

Movements are classified as 1) Gliding movement, 2) Angular movement and 3)
Rotatory movement.

1) Gliding movement: It is the simplest kind of motion. One surface glides over another surface.
eg. Carpals, tarsals.
2) Angular movement: Movement is around one or more axes.
a) Flexion: The normal angle of the jointed bones is reduced.
b) Extension: The normal angle is enlarged, ie. it results straightening at a joint due to
increased angle. (In veretebral column – dorsal flexion, ventral flexion and lateral flexion;
In temporo-mandibular joint - depression, elevation and transverse movements)
c) Hyperextension or dorsal flexion: Means angle between two bones increases beyond
180 degree eg. in the fetlock joint.
d) Pronation: Palmar surface of the manus faces backwards/downwards
e) Supination: Palmar face of the manus turns forwards / upwards.
f) Abduction: When a part is moved away from the midsagittal plane of the body / digits,
away from the axis of the limb.
g) Adduction: The part is moved towards the midsagittal plane of the body / digits, towards
the median axis of the limb.
h) Circumduction: When a bone is made to circumscribe a conical space
i) Rotation: It is the rotation of one segment around the longitudinal axis of the other
segment forming the joint.


Synovial joints are classified by their axes of movement as:
1. Uniaxial (One axis) joint
2. Biaxial (Two axes) joint
3. Multiaxial (More than two axes) joint.
1. Uniaxial joint (Joint moves around one axis)
a. Hinge / Ginglymus joint: Axis of movement is transverse. Only extension and flexion
are possible. Convexities of one bone articulates with corresponding concavities of another
bone. eg. Elbow joint.
b. Pivot/ Trochoid joint: Movement is around a longitudinal axis and encircles a pivot
(One segment rotates around the longitudinal projection of other). eg. Atlanto-axial joint.
2. Biaxial Joint: Movement around two longitudinal axes at right angles to each other. Except
axial rotation all movements are permitted.

a) Condylar/ Imperfect hinge joint: Resembles hinge joint but permits more movements.
A condylar articular surface is received into a concave articular cavity. Permits movements
around the axes of condyles. eg. Stifle joint.
b) Ellipsoidal joint: The circumference of the joint resembles an ellipse. The articular
surfaces are longer in one direction and at right angles to the other. Permits horizontal and
vertical movements or a combination of both. (Almost rotation). eg. Occipito-atlantal joint.
c) Saddle joint: Surfaces are saddle shaped or concavo-convex. The main movements
are around the tranverse axis, ie. flexion and extension; side to side movements around the
sagittal axis are considerably restricted by collateral ligament. eg. As in the distal
interphalangeal joint in dog.
3. Multiaxial joint: Circumduction and axial rotation are permitted-
Eg. Ball and Socket joint (Spheroidal joint / Enarthrosis)
The spheroidal surface of one bone moves within the socket of the other bone. Freely movable
in all directions. In large animals, the movements are restricted to flexion and extension by
surrounding muscles. eg. Shoulder joint, Hip joint.
Plane Joint/ Gliding Joint/ Arthrodia:
The flattened articular surfaces of the two bones move in the same plane as the surfaces
themselves; provides simple gliding movement. eg. Carpals, Small tarsals, articular process of



(While describing a joint, the following points are to be described: (1) Type of joint (2) Articular
surfaces (3) Joint capsule and ligaments and (4) Movements)
Ball and Socket Joint / Enarthrosis
Articular surfaces: Glenoid cavity of the scapula and the head of the humerus.

Ligaments: Joint capsule- Loose and is protected by several muscles of the shoulder around
the joint like the supraspinatus, subscapularis and infraspinatus. No distinct ligaments in the
shoulder joint; their functions are taken over by the tendons of insertion of muscles. Tendon of
supraspinatus function as medial collateral ligament and the tendons of subscapularis and
infraspinatus function as lateral collateral ligament.
Movements: All kinds of movements are possible. Flexion and extension are the chief
movements. Eventhough it is a multiaxial joint, the movements are limited developed muscles
and tendons.by the well


Ginglymus or hinge joint
Articular surfaces: Condyles of distal extremity of the humerus and concavities of the upper
extremity of the radius together with the semilunar notch of the ulna.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule includes the proximal radio-ulnar joint. It has cranial and caudal
pouches; the caudal extends as far as the proximal border of the olecranon fossa.
2. Collateral ligaments – Medial collateral ligament extends from the medial epicondyle of
humerus to the medial tuberosity of radius. Lateral collateral ligament is attached proximally on
the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and distally on the lateral tuberosity of the radius.
Movement: Flexion and extension.

1. Proximal radio-ulnar articulation 2. Between the shafts of radius and ulna and 3. Distal radio-
ulnar articulation.

1. Proximal radio-ulnar articulation: Formed by two small convex facets on the cranial face of
the ulna and the corresponding facets on the caudal surface of the proximal extremity of the
radius. It is enclosed by the joint capsule of elbow joint. Radio-ulnar /Transverse /Arciform
ligaments are two; medial and lateral, attached to the caudal face of the radius and each border
of the shaft of the ulna.
2. Distal radio-ulnar articulations: Distal extremity of the ulna fuses early with the radius.
3. Articulation between the shafts of radius and ulna: Syndesmosis is formed between the
shafts of the radius and ulna. They are united by the interosseus ligaments which ossify in the
Movement: Inappreciable. Forearm being fixed in the position of pronation.
In dog, proximal radio-ulnar joint is a trochoid. It is included in the capsule of the elbow.
Interosseus ligament presents between the shafts. Distal radio-ulnar joint is surrounded by tight
capsular ligament.
Movement: Limited rotation of the radius carrying the paw with it. Ordinary position is pronation.
Outward rotation is supination.


It is a composite joint having three joints.
1. Antebracheo-carpal joint: Formed between the distal ends of the radius and ulna and proximal
row of carpal bones. Ginglymus in hoofed animals and ellipsoidal joint in dog and cat.
Movement – Extension and flexion.
2. Intercarpal Joint: Between the two rows of the carpal bones. Plane joint.
3. Carpometacarpal joint: Between the distal row of carpal bones and proximal end of the
metacarpal bone. Plane joint.
Articulations of carpal joint are
1. Antebrachio-carpal joint
2. Proximal Carpal articulation (between bones of upper row of carpal bones)
3. Intercarpal articulation
4. Distal carpal articulation
5. Carpo-metacarpal articulation

Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule: Fibrous layer is common to all the three joints but the synovial sacs
are separate for the three joints. (Synovial membranes: Three sacs corresponding to three
joints: 1. Radio carpal sac includes the joint formed by the accessory carpal bone. 2. Intercarpal
sac and 3. Carpo-metacarpal sac. Movement: Extension and flexion. In standing position the
joint is extended. When the joint is flexed slight transverse movement and rotation can be
Dorsal part of the fibrous layer (Dorsal carpal ligament) is loose and assists in forming
the fibrous canals for the extensor tendons known as retinaculum extensorium or extensor
retinaculum. In horse it is also known as superior check ligament or supracarpal ligament. Its
palmar part – palmar carpal ligament, retinaculum flexorium is very thick and dense and is
strongly attached to the carpal bones. It extends from the accessory carpal to the radial carpal
transversely so that it is also known as transverse carpal ligament. 2. Lateral and medial
collateral carpal ligaments arise from the distal extremity of the radius and ulna, pass down
adherent to the carpal bones and are attached to the upper extremity of the large metacarpal
bone below.
CARPAL SHEATH (Carpal canal) is formed by the palmar carpal ligament and medial collateral
ligament. The canal is lined by synovial membrane and serves for the passage of tendons of
superficial and deep flexor muscles, median nerve, artery and vein.
3. Special ligaments or intercarpal ligaments connect the carpal bones with each other.
HORSE: Minor differences due to the increased number of carpal bones. Other important
ligaments are 1. Dorsal carpal ligament (Superior check ligament) or supracarpal ligament –

Dorsal part of the joint capsule is loose and assists in forming the fibrous canal for extensor
tendons. Its palmar part, the palmar carpal ligament is thick and closely attached to carpal
bones. It is continued distally to form accessory /subcarpal /inferior check ligament which
blends with deep digital flexor tendon about the middle of the metacarpus. Check ligaments
assist the flexor tendons after severe exertion to keep them tight and prevent flexion. Check
ligaments are part of the stay apparatus or check apparatus that help the animal for prolonged

Articular surface: Small lateral metacarpal bone articulates with large metacarpal bone on the
caudolateral part of the proximal extremity. Joint capsule is connected with the carpometacarpal
Ligaments: Connect 1. Proximal end of small metacarpal to 4th carpal. 2. Distal end of small
metacarpal to lateral side of large metacarpal and 3. Interosseous ligament between the shafts
large and small metacarpal bones.


Metacarpo-phalangeal articulation.
Ox: Two joints, one for each digit. Ginglymus joint between the distal extremity of large
metacarpal, proximal extremity of first phalanx and proximal sesamoids behind.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule encloses the joint and is adherent to the extensor tendons passing
over it. Palmar parts of the two joint capsules communicates.
2. Collateral ligaments –connect the large metacarpal to proximal phalanx.
3. Interdigital collateral ligaments – two arises as a single band between the divisions of the
distal ends of the large metacarpal, bifurcates and ends on proximal ends of proximal phalanges.
4. Proximal interdigital ligament: strong, consisting of short intercrossing fibres. It unites the
middle of the interdigital surfaces of the proximal phlanges. It prevents undue divergence of the
phalanges. It is absent in sheep.
5. Sesamoidean ligaments:

a. Proximal or superior sesamoidean ligament or interosseous medius muscle or Interosseous

tendon/ Suspensory ligament – is more muscular in young and fibrous in adult. It arises from
the palmar face of the distal row of carpal bones and proximal extremity of large metacarpal,
descends on the palmar face of the large metacarpal and divides at the distal third of the
metacarpus into three branches. These give 5 subdivisions either by bifurcation of the two
lateral and two medial branches or by trifurcation of the middle branch. Two lateral and two
medial end on proximal sesamoids and the distal end of large metacarpal and detach slips to
the extensor tendons. The middle band passed through the groove between the two divisions
of the distal end of the metacarpus and divides into two branches which join the upper digital
extensor tendons and also interdigital ligament. About the middle of the metacarpus the
interroseous muscle detaches two slips which unite more distally with the superficial digital flexor
tendons and thus enclose the deep digital flexor tendons.
b) Middle sesamoidean ligament (Intersesamoidean lig) – Two ligaments, connect the two
proximal sesamoids on each digits.
c) Collateral sesamoidean (Medial and lateral) ligaments - Extend between the corresponding
faces of abaxial sesamoids to the proximal extremity of the 1st phalanx and lateral aspect of the
large metacarpal.
d) Interdigtial phlango-sesamoidean ligaments – Connect the proximal sesamoid with the
proximal end of the opposite proximal phalanx.
e) Distal sesamoidean ligament (In horse, arranged in three layers) – 1. Middle (oblique) distal
sesamoidean ligaments – two short strong bands extending from the distal margins of the
proximal sesamoids to the proximal ends of the 1st phalanges. 2) Cruciate (deep) distal
sesamoidean ligaments – arise on the base of the sesamoid bones, cross each other and end
on the opposite proximal ends of the proximal phalanges.
Movement: Extension and flexion
HORSE: One metacarpophalangeal joint.
Suspensory ligament: At the distal fourth of the metacarpus it is divided into two branches and
one superficial for the superficial flexor muscle. Each passes on the abaxial face of the
corresponding sesamoid, on which a considerable part is attached. The remainder passes
obliquely to the dorsal surface of the proximal phalanx where it joins the digital extensor tendon.
It is mainly of tendinous tissue. Function – Support fetlock by preventing the excessive dorsal
flexion of the joint when the weight is put on the limb.
Dog: 5 joints, suspensory ligaments are replaced by interosseous muscles.

1. Proximal interphalangeal articulation: Pastern joint – two for each limb. Ginglymus joint
between the 1st and 2nd phalanges.
Ligaments 1. Joint capsule 2. Central palmar ligament is a strong band from the distal end of
the 1st phalanx to proximal end of the 2nd phalanx. 3. Axial and abaxial (Medial and lateral)
collateral ligaments 4. Interdigital ligament is weak and indistinct.
Movement: Extension and flexion
2. Distal interphalangeal articulation: Coffin joint in horse or Claw joint in ox – Ginglymus
(saddle joint) – between the 2nd and 3rd phlanages and distal sesamoid. Ligaments – 1. Joint
capsule 2. Collateral ligaments – Axial and abaxial 3. Interdigital or cruciate ligaments are two
strong bands from middle phalanx to opposite distal sesamoids and these ligaments limit the
separation of the digits.
Movement: Extension and flexion
Horse: Only one joint. In addition there are three ligaments to attach the lateral cartilages.
Lateral cartilages of third phalanx are rhomboid plates of hyaline cartilage which cover the
angles on 2nd phalanx and the 3rd phalanx.
(In the forelimb, most of the joints are hinge joints. Exceptions: Shoulder joint – Ball and socket
joint; Carpo-metacarpal articulation – Plane or gliding joint)


Diarthrosis or Synovial joint: Movement is very restricted.
Articular surfaces: are wing of sacrum and sacral surface of the ilium.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule is closely applied.
2. Sacroiliac ligament attaches the sacral tuberosity to summits of sacral spines.
a. Dorsal sacroiliac ligaments:- Two parts – (1) short part or pars brevis extends between
sacral tuber of ilium and spinous process of sacrum; (2) long part or pars longa extends from
sacral tuber to lateral border of sacrum.
b. Interosseous ligament
c. Ventral sacro-iliac ligaments

3. Sacrotuberal (sacroishiatic) ligament is an extensive quadrilateral sheet in ungulates,

which completes the lateral wall of the pelvic cavity and is called the broad pelvic ligament.
Sacrotuberal ligament is absent in cats. In dog, it is small and extends between transverse
process of last sacral vertebra and the tuber ischii. In ungulates, dorsal border is attached
to the lateral border if the sacrum and transverse processes of 1st and 2nd caudal vertebrae
(except in ox where it arises from the sacrum); ventral border to the ischiatic spine (1st part)
and tuber ischi (2nd part), thus completes the lesser ischiatic foramen. The cranial border is
concave and completes the greater ischiatic foramen. The caudal border is fused with
semimembranosus muscle in horse and pig. In ox, this muscle has no vertebral end and
the caudal border of this ligament is prominent under the skin forming the dorsolateral
boundary of the ishio-rectal fossa. Shortly before parturition, this normally taut ligament
slackens off and feels soft on palpation.
4. Ilio-lumbar ligament: connects the ilium to the transvers process of the lumbar vertebrae.
Movement: Inappreciable.

Formed between the pubes and ischia of two sides. In young animal this is amphiarthrosis
(cartilaginous joint ie. fibrocartilage). The pubic symphysis ossifies in adult animals but the

caudal ischiatic symphysis remains cartilaginous. The union is strengthened by white fibrous
tissue dorsally and ventrally. A transverse band also covers the cranial border or pectin
ossis pubis ie. the cranial pubic ligament. Arcuate ischiatic ligament extends across at the
ischial arch.
Obturator membrane: is a delicate connective tissue sheet which is attached to the
margins of obturatur foramen, separating the two parts of obturator muscles. However, a
passage ie. obturator canal is left for the obturator vessels and nerve.


Enarthrosis or Ball and Socket joint
Articular surfaces: are the acetabulum and the head of the femur.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule is extensive
2. Cotyloid ligament (Acetabular slip or Articulum labrum) is a marginal fibrocartilage which
extends to the acetabulum and thereby the acetabulum becomes deep. The part of the
ligament that crosses the acetabular notch is the transverse acetabular ligament.
3. Round ligament or ligamentum teres is attached to the acetabular fossa, runs through
the acetabular notch and inserted on the fovea capitis on the head of the femur.
Movement: Rotation, circumduction, adduction, abduction, extension and flexion

Horse: In addition, Accessory ligament (or Pubofemoral ligament) arises from the
symphyseal (prepubic) tendon of the rectus abdominis muscle, lodged in the pubic
groove, passes through the acetabular notch and is inserted to the fovea capitis behind
the round ligament. This ligament prevents abduction and limits the side kicking.
Absence of this ligament in ruminants permits free abduction and ruminants can kick
sideways. This movement is known as cow kick.
Stifle joint, which correspond to the knee joint in man, is the largest and most elaborate of
all the articulations. It consists of two joints. (1) Femoro-patellar and 2. Femoro-tibial

1. Femoro-patellar articulations:
Gliding joint. Patella glides over the trochlea of the femur. Patella is the sesamoid bone of
quadriceps femoris muscle.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule is loose and the most extensive in the body.
2. Femoropatellar ligaments, medial and lateral- arise from the corresponding faces of the
epicondyles of the femur to the medial and lateral angles of the base of the patella, respectively.
Lateral one is stronger in ox and horse. These two ligaments are parts of patellar retinacula.

3. Patellar ligaments have three strong bands which attach the patella to the tuberosity of the
tibia. In dog and pig, only the middle patellar ligament is present. The three patellar ligaments
are (i) Lateral patellar ligament – from the lateral part of the cranial surface of the patella to the
tibial tuberosity on its lateral aspect. It receives strong tendon from biceps femoris and part of
tensor facia latae. (ii) Middle patellar ligament from the middle of the cranial surface of patella
to the middle of the tibial tuberosity. The middle ligament represents the tendon of insertion of
quadriceps. (iii) Medial patellar ligament extends from medial part of patella to the medial part
of the tibial tuberosity. Medial ligament is weaker in ox. It is joined by the common aponeurosis
of the sartorius, gracilis and fibres of vastus medialis.
Movement: Gliding movement.
Subluxation of patella: Fixation of patella above the trochlea. This is common in ox and horse.
General debility and weakness of muscles acting on the stifle is a predisposing factor. Rigid
overextension of limb is an exciting factor. Patella gets fixed in the depression on the upper part
of trochlea. So the medial straight ligament of patella gets overstretched and slips above the
medial trochlear ridge of femur. Since the ligament in this position gets applied against the
prominent trochlear ridge, its easy return downwards when the joint is flexed becomes difficult
and the patella gets locked up.
When the animal stands to walk, the affected limb is rigidly extended backwards because
the stifle and hock can’t be flexed. After a few steps, patella slips down and subsequently the
limb may be used in a normal manner. Symptoms occur when the anomal is walked after a
period of long rest, say in the early morning.
Treatment: Patellar desmotomy or cutting of the medial ligament provides symptomatic relief.
2. Femoro-tibial articulation: Imperfect hinge between the condyles of femur and condyles of
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule 2. Menisci, medial and lateral are crescentic (C shaped) plates of
fibrocartilage interposed between the condyles of the femur and tibia. Each has a proximal
concave surface adapted to the condyles of the femur and distal surface flat for the tibia. These
cartilages are kept in position by coronary ligaments. Lateral meniscus has three ligaments;
one cranial angle of the meniscus to the cranio-lateral area of the intercondyloid fossa of femur
and two caudal of which one dorsal attached to the medial aspect of intercondyloid fossa of
femur and the other the ventral to the tibia lateral to the popliteal notch. Medial meniscus has
two ligaments one cranial and one caudal; to the depressions in front and behind the tibial spine.
3. Collateral ligaments: medial and lateral extend from the respective faces of the distal extremity

of the femur to the proximal extremity of the tibia. 4. Cruciate ligaments – They connects
femur with the tibia and cross in an X shaped manner and are named according to their tibial
attachments. (i) cranial cruciate lig. From the cranial fossa on the tibial spine to the lateral wall
of the intercondyloid fossa of femur (ii) caudal cruciate ligament from the eminence at the politeal
notch of the tibia to the cranial part of the intercondyloid fossa of the femur.
Movement: Extension and flexion

Tibia and fibula are fused. Lateral malleolus articulates with the tarsal bones.
Horse: Diarthrosis between the head of the fibula and lateral condyle of tibia.
Ligaments: 1. Capsular ligament
Amphiarthrosis between the shafts of tibia and fibula.
Ligament – Interosseous ligament.
Dog: Diarthrosis between tibia and fibula at two ends.
Shaft: United by interosseous ligament.

Pedal articulation: Tarsal joint is a composite joint consisting of 1. Tibio-tarsal articulation 2.
Intertarsal articulation and 3. Tarso-metatarsal articulation.
1. Tibio-tarsal articulation: Ginglymus formed by trochlea of tibiotarsal and distal end of tibia.
Ligaments: 1. Joint capsule

2. Lateral and medial collateral ligaments attach the distal end of the tibia to the tarsal bones
above and metatarsal below, on either side. Unlike in the carpus there are short collateral
ligaments in addition to long collateral ligaments. A) Long lateral collateral ligament: It arises on
the caudal part of the lateral malleolus and is attached to the calcaneus, fourth tarsal bone and
large metatarsal. B) Short lateral collateral ligaments are two in number. One extends from
lateral malleolus to calcaneus. Other from calcaneus to the proximal end of large metatarsal.
C) Long medial collateral ligament arises from the medial malleolus of tibia to the proximal end
of large metatarsal. D) Short medial collateral ligament extends from medial malleolus and ends
on tibial tarsal and another one on sustentaculum tali of calcaneus.
3. Plantar tarsal ligament covers the lateral part of the plantar surface of the tarsus.
4. Dorsal tarsal ligament attach medial tuberosity of the tibial tarsal, spreads over the central
and 4th tarsal and attach to all the tarsal bones. A strong transverse ligament attaches the lateral
malleolus to the plantar part of the tibial tarsal.
Movement: Extension and flexion.

Special ligaments: Number of short bands connect adjacent bones of the tarsus and metatarsus.
The articulations are:
a) Tibiotarsal articualtion b) Proximal tarsal articualtion c) Proximal intertarsal
articulation d) Distal intertarsal articulation e) Distal tarsal articulation and f)
Tarso-metatarsal articulation. Movement: Gliding except tibiotarsal joint.
Annular ligaments: Serve to bind the tendons of the muscles. Dorsal aspect presents proximal
and distal annular ligaments. Proximal annular ligament is large and thick and extends from the
medial to lateral malleolus. It binds the tendon of complex muscle. Distal annular ligaments
extend from the fibular tarsal obliquely downward and inward to the large metatarsal bone.

Plantar annular ligament extends from fibular tarsal and plantar ligament to the medial collateral
ligament. This forms the posterior wall of the tarsal sheath.
TARSAL SHEATH: Is formed in front by tarso-metatarsal ligament, behind the plantar annular
ligament and is lined by synovial membrane. This sheath serves for the passage of the tendons
of deep flexor, plantar arteries and nerves.


Most of the bones of the skull are united with adjacent bones by sutures and a few by cartilage.
Most of these joints are temporary and undergo synostosis at various periods during growth. So
long as they persist continuous growth is possible.
1. Synchondrosis occurs in between (a) Basioccipital and postsphenoid b) Post
sphenoid and presphenoid and c) parts of occipital.
2. Symphysis – between two halves of the mandible
The movable articulations are
1. Temporo-mandibular articulation/Mandibular joint:

Ginglymus joint between condyles of the mandible and sygomatic process of the squamous
temporal. An articular disc is placed between the joint surfaces to bring about adaptation
articular areas. Ligaments. 1. Joint capsule 2. Lateral ligament extends between the zygomatic
process and the neck of mandible. Movement: Gliding and angular movements as depression
and elevation in opening and closing the mouth, rotation in vertical axis in transverse movements
extensively performed during mastication.

HORSE: In addition caudal ligament of elastic tissue extends from the postglenoid process of
temporal to the caudal face of the neck of the mandible. Lateral movements are restricted.
Transverse movement is present.
DOG and PIG: Caudal ligament is absent. No transverse movement.

2. Hyoidean articulation:
5 joints
a) Temporohyoid: Syndesmosis between stylohyoid and hyoid process of temporal. Hinge like
movement is present.
b) Thyrohyoid articulation: between thyrohyoid and thyroid cartilage of larynx.
c) Basicornual articulation: between body and keratohyoid
d) Intercornual articulation: between keratohyoid and epihyoid
e) Intercornual articulation: between epihyoid and stylohyoid
Movement: Chiefly in the acts of mastication and swallowing

2 types 1) Common vertebral and 2) Special vertebral articulations.

1) Common vertebral articulations

a) Intercentral articulation ie, between bodies of vertebrae
b) Interneural articulation ie, between articular processes of adjacent vertebrae
a) Intercentral articulations
Type – Amphiarthrosis
Bones – Caudal concave surface of the body of the preceding vertebra and cranial convex end
of the body of succeeding vertebra.
Intervertebral discs: These are fibrocartilaginous convexo-concave discs placed between
articular surfaces of bodies of vertebrae to which it is intimately attached. The discs are thinnest
in the thoracic region; thicker in cervical and lumbar and thickest in the coccygeal region
(therefore maximum movement). Each disc consists of peripheral fibrous ring (annulus fibrosis)
and a soft central pulpy substance (nucleus pulposus / pulpy nucleus). Nucleus pulposus is
surrounded by a fibrocartilaginous part which covers the terminal surfaces vertebral bodies. It
is a remnant of the notochord. During movements of vertebral column, it acts as a water-cushion
or buffer, which distributes the pressure equally toward all sides and which causes tension in

the fibres of cartilage and the annulus. The intervertebral discs can be interpreted as being
“elastic breakers” to those movement of single vertebrae against one anther.

The pulpy nucleus may prolapse and be pressed out of the fibrous ring (slipped disc).
This generally occurs in lumbar region during violent hyperflexion of the vertebral column. When
it takes place dorsolaterally, the protruding mass may compress the adjacent spinal nerve root
thereby causing pain along the area of distribution of the nerve.
Ligaments of the vertebral column
a) Short ligaments and b) long ligaments
a) Short ligaments: Connect adjacent vertebrae
3 groups
1) Interarcuate ligaments – lig. flava (flava. = yellow). These are elastic sheets which connects
the arches of adjacent vertebrae, covering interarcuate spaces.
2) Interspinous ligaments – lig. interspinalia: connect the spinous process of vertebrae. They
are elastic in the cervical and first 2 lumbar vertebrae in horse and fibrous on the other vertebrae.
In carnivores, the ligaments are replaced by muscles while in ruminants there are numerous
elastic elements in all the regions.
3) Intertransverse ligament: (lig. intertransversarium): connect transverse process of lumbar
b) Long ligaments: They pass over several vertebrae and connect more distant segments of the
vertebral column so that these segments form functional units.
1) Dorsal longitudinal ligament: This lies inside the vertebral canal where it is attached to the
ligamentous ridge on the dorsal surface of vertebral bodies and to the intervertebral discs. It

generally extends from the dens of the axis to the sacrum but in carnivores it reaches the caudal
2) Ventral longitudinal ligament: Attached to the ventral surface of the vertebral bodies and
intervertebral discs from the thoracic vertebra to sacrum. (Up to 6th thoracic the longus colli is
3) Supraspinous ligament: Extends from the occipital to sacrum. It is an elastic ligament. It
consists of cervical and dorsolumbar parts. In the neck and withers (ie, the cervical part) is
remarkably modified to form the NUCHAL LIGAMENT / LIGAMENTUM NUCHAE.

It is a powerful elastic apparatus, the principal function of which is to assist the extensor
muscles of the head and neck. It extends from the axis in dog, from the squamous occipital in
ruminants and horses and is continuous with the thoracolumbar part of the supraspinous
ligament. The cat and the pig do not have a nuchal ligament. They only have a supraspinous
ligament which as in other domestic mammals, covers the proximal ends of the spinous process
of thoracic lumbar and sacral vertebrae. In ruminants and horses, the ligamentum nuchae
consists of 2 parts, funicular & lamellar / laminar part. Only the funicular part is present in the
In ruminants, funicular part originates on the external occipital protuberance of the
occipital bone and it boardens caudally and forms a double sagittal sheet which is attached
laterally to the spinous process of the 1st thoracic vertebra. From here it continues caudally as
the supraspinous ligament. (No line of demarcation exists between nuchal ligament and
supraspinous ligament, since the change from elastic to white fibrous tissue is gradual).
The laminal part has a paired cranial part and unpaired caudal part. Paired cranial part
arises on either side of the spinous process of 2nd to 4th cervical vertebrae where it fans upwards

and backwards to blend with the funicular part. The unpaired caudal part originates from the
spinous process of 5th -7th cervical vertebrae and inserts under the funicular part on the sp.
process of the 1st thoracic vertebra.
In dog, the paired funicular part originates from the spinous process of axis and inserts
to the spinous process of the few thoracic vertebrae.
In horse, cranial and caudal parts of laminar parts are paired. The paired funicular part
broadens in the region of withers to form “cap of the withers”. Two bursae are usually formed
under funicular part. Synovial bursa is a sac like structure containing synovial fluid and lined by
synovial membrane. This occurs at the site of frictin in within a tendon and a bone or
subcutaneously over a bony prominence. The atlantal bursa (between ligament and dorsal arch
of atlas) and supraspinous bursa (over 2nd thoracic spine). Infection of atlantal bursa leads to
“poll evil” and that of supraspinous fossa leads to “fistulous wither” in horse. Thoracolumbar
portion – starts from the sacral spine attaches the summits of the spines of lumbar and thoracic
vertebrae proceeds forward and continues as cervical part.

b. Interneural aticualtions/Junctura zygapophyseales

Each typical vertebra presents 2 pairs of articular processes, which form synovial joints
with the adjacent vertebrae. The articular surfaces are extensive almost flat and oval in the
cervical region, small and flat in the thoracic region, while in lumbar region the cranial ones are
concave and caudal ones are convex. The joint capsule is wide and strong in conformity with
greater mobility of these joints with the neck. In the thoracic and lumbar regions these are small.
These joints are plane / arthrodia in neck and thorax and trochoid in lumbar region. Only dorsal
and ventral flexion (kyphosis and lordosis) is possible within last thoracic and lumbar vertebrae.
It is possible for the vertebral column as a whole to move laterally ie, scoliosis.
Intertransverse articulations are synovial joints peculiar to equidae within transverse process of
5th and 6th lumbar and between latter and wings of sacrum.
Sacral articulations are obliterated by ossification of intervertebral discs. The caudal
vertebrae are highly mobile as all their terminal surfaces are somewhat convex with thick
intervertebral discs.

2. Special vertebral articulations

2 joints facilitate movement of the head.
1) Atlanto-occipital articulation

Ginglymus / ellipsoidal
Articular surfaces – condyles of the occipital and concavities of the atlas.
(Ellipsoidal joints – 2 joints are there, each for 2 occipital condyles. Separate joint capsule.
Ventrally they lie together so that they frequently lay communicate in pig and ruminants.)
1. Joint capsule
2. Dorsal atlanto-occipital membrane – extends from the dorsal arch of atlas to the dorsal margin
of magnum.
3. Ventral atlanto-occipital membrane –from ventral arch of atlas to ventral margin of f. magnum.
4. Lateral ligaments – from wing of atlas to paramastoid or jugular process of occipital
Movement: Flexion and extension. Lateral movement and rotation limited.

1.occipito-atlatal articulation
2. Atlanto-axial articulation
3.Dorsal atlatal occipital membrane
3”.Ventral atlatal occipital
4.Lateral ligament
5.Odentoid ligament
7.Dorsal atlatal axial ligament
8.Inter-spinous ligament

2) Atlanto-axial articulation
Trochoid/ pivot: Dens of axis articulates with fovea dentis of atlas. In addition, laterally and
ventrally the cranial articular surface of the axis articulates with the caudal articular fossa of the
1. Joint capsule
2. Dorsal atlantoaxial ligament from caudal border of dorsal arch of atlas to cranial border of
arch of axis.
3. Ventral atlantoaxial ligament from ventral tubercle of axis to ventral spine of axis

4. Interspinous ligament: 2 elastic bands from dorsal tubercle of atlas to spine of axis
5. Odontoid ligament/Lig. dentis from dorsal surface of dens to the inner surface of the ventral
arch of atlas/fovea dentis
Movement: Rotation

1. Costovertebral articulation (Costocentral and costotransverse)
2. Costochondral
3. Chondrosternal
4. Interchondral
5. Sternal articulations

Each rib forms two joints with the vertebral column, one by its head and one by its
1) Costocentral articulations:

Trochoid between heads of ribs and costal cavities of two adjacent vertebrae.
Ligaments: 1) Joint capsule. 2) Radiate ligament: Extends ventrally from the neck of the rib to
the two adjacent vertebral bodies and intervertebral discs in between.
3) Intraarticular ligament (Conjugal ligament): It is attached to the non-articular groove on the
head of the rib, passes transversely into the vertebral canal, and divides under the dorsal
longitudinal ligament into two branches: one of these attached to the body of the cranial
vertebra; the other is continued across the head of the opposite rib and is also attached to
intervertebral disc. The joint cavity is divided into two compartments by the intra-articular
ligament. No conjugal ligament for first costo-central articulation.
Movement: Rotation.

2) Costotransverse articulation
Formed by facet on the tubercle of the rib and tubercular facet on the transverse process
of the vertebra.
Plane / gliding joint.
Ligament: 1. Joint capsule. 2) Costotransverse ligament extending from the transverse process
of the vertebra and ends on the non-articular part of the tubercle.
Gliding movement.
II. Costochondral articulations
They differ in various species, 2nd to 10th in ox are amphiarthrosis. The others and all the ribs in
dog and horse are symphysis. The others and all the ribs of horse and dog are symphysis.

III Chondrosternal articulations

First chondrosternal joint – synchondrosis.
Others: Diarthrosis between costal cartilage and sternum.

Ligaments: (1) Joint capsule (2) Dorsal and ventral chondrosternal ligaments from the dorsal
and ventral surfaces of the joint. (3) the capsule is reinforced dorsally by radiate sternocostal
ligament composed of radiating fibres which blend with the sternal ligament. (4) Intercrossing
fibres / cruciate ligament unite the vertebral ends of first pair of ribs.

IV. Interchondral ligaments

Asternal cartilages are united together by elastic tissue. Chondroxiploid ligament
attaches the 9th costal cartilage to the xiphoid. 9th is attached to 8th by elastic fibres. Thus
coastal arch is indirectly connected to the sternum by its articulation with 8th and by costoxiphoid
V. Sternal articulation

Manubrium and body of sternum articulate to form a synovial joint except in horse where
all joints are immovable. Limited lateral movement. Rest of the segments are connected
through synchondrosis which ossify later. A sternal ligament lies on the dorsal surface of
the sternum and extends from the first segment to the xiphoid cartilage, along the midline.
It is wide at the beginning, gradually becomes thick and narrow anf finally become flat at the
termination. It forms three limbs in horse of which two lateral limbs insert on the cartilage of
last true ribs and the middle limb on the xiphoid cartilage. In carnivores it is indistinct or even
missing. Pigs and ruminants have a membrana sterni which binds the sternebrae together
on the outside.