What Is the Definition of Capsular Pattern?

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Medicine refers to a capsular pattern, when addressing an injury or pain, as inflammation or arthritis found only in the fibrous capsule of the joint.

When an orthopedic surgeon examines a patient with pain in his joint due to inflammation or arthritis, he or she will look for a capsular pattern or a non-capsular pattern. This examination is part of the Cyriax system in Orthopedics. Since each joint in the human body has its own capsular pattern, doctors can tell if the pain is located within the capsule or if the source of the pain is elsewhere.