Joint capsule

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Joint capsule
Typical joint
Diagrammatic section of a diarthrodial joint.
Latin capsula articularis
Gray's p.282
TA A03.0.00.026
FMA 34836
Anatomical terminology

In anatomy, a joint capsule or articular capsule is an envelope surrounding a synovial joint.[1] Each joint capsule has two parts: an outer fibrous layer or membrane, and an inner synovial layer or membrane.


Each capsule consists of two layers or membranes:

  • an outer (fibrous membrane, fibrous stratum) composed of avascular white fibrous tissue
  • an inner (synovial membrane, synovial stratum) which is a secreting layer

On the inside of the capsule, articular cartilage covers the end surfaces of the bones that articulate within that joint.

The outer layer is highly innervated by the same nerves which perforate through the adjacent muscles associated with the joint.

Fibrous membrane[edit]

The fibrous membrane of the joint capsule is attached to the whole circumference of the articular end of each bone entering into the joint, and thus entirely surrounds the articulation. It is made up of dense irregular connective tissue.

Clinical significance[edit]

Frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) is a disorder in which the shoulder capsule becomes inflamed.

Plica syndrome is a disorder in which the synovial plica becomes inflamed and causes abnormal biomechanics in the knee.


See also[edit]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

External links[edit]