The ankle, elbow and knee joints are examples of hinge joints. Interphalangeal joints are the hinge joints located between the fingers and the toes. Hinge joints are also known as ginglymus joints, but the common name for these joints refers to the way their movements mimic a door hinge.
Hinge joints are composed of synovial joint matter and ligaments that provide reinforcement. Each bone is covered with cartilage designed to reduce friction in the joint and absorb shock. Synovial fluid offers lubrication to reduce friction and enable the free movement of these joints.
The knee is the largest and most complex hinge joint in the human body. This joint supports the entire body’s weight while maintaining a wide range of motion. The complexity of the knee makes it vulnerable to a variety of injuries. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports that, in 2010, more than 10 million patient visits occurred due to knee injuries.
Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and bursitis are common diseases that affect hinge joints. Osteoarthritis occurs when the protective cartilage on the ends of the bones deteriorates. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system attacks the joints. Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis that causes abrupt, intense pain, swelling and tenderness. Bursitis is the inflammation of the sacs of synovial fluid within a hinge joint.