Put down that dumbbell and listen up: Muscles aren’t everything.
“It’s your joints that make the whole body tick,” says Douglas Comeau, D.O., director of the Boston University Sports Medicine Fellowship. But like any mechanical system, they’re prone to wear and tear.
And without well-functioning joints, it’s challenging to add muscle, shed fat, or get anything done around the house. To maintain them, you need to understand how they work and the threats they face.
The rounded, ball-like end of one bone fits into the concave surface of another. The design offers superior range of motion, but stability can vary—high in a deep socket, low in a shallow one. Surrounding tendons and ligaments help keep bones in place.
Adjoining bones flex toward or extend away from each other in a swinging motion along an axis. Ultrasmooth articular cartilage between the bones reduces friction as they move against each other.