Gliding Joints

Leah Veldhuisen, Erik Gonzalez and Jonah Short-Miller

Gliding joints are when flat or mostly flat bones slide past each other. It allows for sliding motion in the wrists and ankles. Intertarsal joints and intercarpal joints are gliding or plane joints.

Muscles involved in gliding joints are the muscles in the forearm, some of which are flexor carpi radialis, pronator teres and extensor carpi radialis longus.

The two main ligaments in the wrist are scapholunate and lunatotriquetral ligaments, and both are involved in gliding joint movements. The scapholunate ligament holds the carpal bones together and is responsible for flexion, whike the lunatriquetral ligament is involved in extension.

Any sport involving wrist movement will use gliding joints. Tennis, lacrosse, football, golf, baseball are just a few activities that would involve use of a gliding joint.

Rheumatoid and osteoarthritis and carpal tunnel are the most common issues with gliding joints in the wrist. In rheumatoid arthritis, the immune system attacks healthy tissue in wrist ankle joints and there are some treatments options but no cures.

Osteoarthritis is general wear on a joint and there is also no cure.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is when the median nerve is squeezed at the wrist because of tendon swelling. It can cause pain, weakness and/or numbness.

The most common surgeries for gliding joints are to treat carpal tunnel. Open release surgery invovles cutting open the wrist and cutting the carpal ligament to allow for more room.

Another surgery involving the wrist gliding joint is joint replacement, which is often used as a treatment for arthritis. The problematic bones are taken and out and replaced with metal, plastic or carbon-coated implants.

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