The bones of the skeleton are joined to one another at different parts of their surfaces, and such connections are termed Joints or Articulations.
Where the joints are immovable, as in the articulations between practically all the bones of the skull, the adjacent margins of the bones are almost in contact, being separated merely by a thin layer of fibrous membrane, named the sutural ligament. In certain regions at the base of the skull this fibrous membrane is replaced by a layer of cartilage. Where slight movement combined with great strength is required, the osseous surfaces are united by tough and elastic fibrocartilages, as in the joints between the vertebral bodies, and in the interpubic articulation. In the freely movable joints the surfaces are completely separated; the bones forming the articulation are expanded for greater convenience of mutual connection, covered by cartilage and enveloped by capsules of fibrous tissue. The cells lining the interior of the fibrous capsule form an imperfect membrane—the synovial membrane—which secretes a lubricating fluid. The joints are strengthened by strong fibrous bands called ligaments, which extend between the bones forming the joint.