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Your Joints in Motion

We’ll explain how bone, synovial fluid, muscles and cartilage keep your joints moving and flexing.

Healthy Joints

Our body is constantly renewing itself. To stay beautiful, you have to renew your joints. From the minute we start using them, our joints are subject to wear and tear.

For the first few decades of life, our body can repair the damage. Let’s take a look inside your joints...

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Joint in Motion

Joints are made of bone, synovial fluid, muscles, cartilage and ligaments. They’re designed to move the body and bear weight. Here’s how the different parts function.

QUIZ: Do You Have a Healthy Exercise Routine?

Collagen: A type of tissue that serves as scaffolding upon which everything else is build.

Tendons: Collagen fibers that attach muscles to bones.

Ligaments: Soft tissues connecting bone to bone. Joints with few or weak ligaments allow more movement, like the shoulder. Joints with more supporting structures are more stable but have a smaller range of motion (sacroiliac joint).

Cartilage: It gives us form before our bones are mineralized after birth. This continues to give structure to our nose and ears. It serves as the glistening plate of soft tissue at the end of bones, which prevents bone-on-bone clanking.

Articular cartilage between bones acts as the body’s shock absorber. This does not have it’s own blood supply, so it needs to get nutrients from the surrounding synovial fluid.The meniscus is the key shock absorber in the knee. It’s a kind of cartilage that’s particularly vulnerable to injury.

Uric Acid

Uric acid’s the most abundant liquid antioxidant you have. It accounts for two-thirds of free-radical-scavenging capacity in the blood, and may help prevent damage from stroke. However, this can also wind up as crystals in the fluid of your joints. They can mar the smooth cartilage surface like a diamond would scrape glass. The resulting joint condition is gout. This can come from medications, renal disease or your parents. A diet full of meat and red wine can also cause this condition. Chondroitin sulfate and glucosamine appear to reduce uric acid and treat the pain.

Synovial Fluid: The surface of the bones that touch each other are covered in articular cartilage. They’re also bathed in the “joint oil” called synovial fluid. This fluid should be pure as spring water and the articular cartilage, smooth.

Chondrocytes are cells in the articular cartilage, which help repair and regenerate the wearing cartilage. Glucosamine (synthesized in the body from glucose) provides the building blocks for chondrocytes to repair the damage. This affects the rate of breakdown of the cartilage. 

Your body balances putting new fluid in with getting rid of the old fluid. If a joint becomes injured or inflamed from wear and tear, you can produce too much synovial fluid. This leads to painful swelling.

As we age, we produce less of this fluid and the cartilage breaks down. This can leads to painful bone grinding because of the loss of shock absorbers. Your knees have two shock absorbers that for a C shape. The medial and lateral menisci should be plump like grapes, not dried out like raisins.

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