What is the anatomy of synovial joints involved in osteoarthritis (OA)?

Updated: Oct 12, 2020
  • Author: Carlos J Lozada, MD; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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Normal synovial joints allow a significant amount of motion along their extremely smooth articular surface. These joints are composed of the following:

  • Articular cartilage
  • Subchondral bone
  • Synovial membrane
  • Synovial fluid
  • Joint capsule

The normal articular surface of synovial joints consists of articular cartilage (composed of chondrocytes) surrounded by an extracellular matrix that includes various macromolecules, most importantly proteoglycans and collagen. The cartilage facilitates joint function and protects the underlying subchondral bone by distributing large loads, maintaining low contact stresses, and reducing friction at the joint.

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