Freely movable joints are joints in the body with a high degree of mobility and flexibility. Joints are places where bones connect. They are generally classified as immovable, slightly movable and freely movable.
Freely movable joints are the most complex of the joints. The bones held together by freely movable joints have a layer of hyaline cartilage at the adjoining ends. The junction of the bones is a joint capsule, the top layer of which is composed of ligaments. A synovial membrane lies underneath and produces synovial fluid to lubricate the joint, allowing it to move freely. Freely movable joints come in different shapes and allow different movements. Six types of freely movable joints exist. The ball-and-socket joint, of which the shoulder is an example, has a ball-shaped head and allows the widest range of motion. The elbow is a hinge joint and is able to move in only one plane. Gliding joints, located in the wrists, allow twisting. A pivot joint rotates around an axis and is found between the radius and ulna. Condyloid joints have a wide range of motion but cannot rotate. These joints are located in the fingers and toes. The saddle joints have a wide range of motion as well and are located in the thumbs.