Original Editor - Justine Haroon

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Introduction[edit | edit source]

'Arthrokinematics' refers to the movement of joint surfaces. Arthrokinematics differs from Osteokinematics - in general Osteokinematics means bone movement and Arthrokinematics joint movement.

The angular movement of bones in the human body occurs as a result of a combination of rolls, spins, and slides.

  1. A roll is a rotary movement, one bone rolling on another.
  2. A spin is a rotary movement, one body spinning on another.
  3. A slide is a translatory movement, sliding of one joint surface over another.

The video below gives a good 2 minute outline.


Types of Arthrokinematic Motion[edit | edit source]

  1. Joint Play: movement not under voluntary control (passive), can not be achieved by active muscular contraction.
  2. Component Movement: involuntary obligatory joint motion occurring outside the joint accompanies active motion – i.e. - scapulohumeral rhythm

Why Arthrokinematics Matters[edit | edit source]

The convex-concave rule is the basis for determining the direction of the mobilizing force when joint mobilization gliding techniques are used to increase a certain joint motion.

The direction in which sliding occurs depends on whether the moving surface is concave or convex. 

  • Concave = hollowed or rounded inward
  • Convex = curved or rounded outward

If the moving joint surface is CONVEX, sliding is in the OPPOSITE direction of the angular movement of the bone.

If the moving joint surface is CONCAVE, sliding is in the SAME direction as the angular movement of the bone.


  • Glenohumeral articulation: concave glenoid fossa articulates with the convex humeral head

Glenohumeral posterior glide increases flexion and internal rotation

Glenohumeral anterior glide increases extension and external rotation

  • Humeroradial articulation: convex capitulum articulates with the concave radial head

Dorsal or posterior glide of the head of radius increases elbow extension

Volar or anterior glide of the head of the radius increases elbow flexion

  • Hip joint: concave acetabulum articulates with the convex femoral head

Hip posterior glide increases flexion and internal rotation

Hip anterior glide increases extension and external rotation

  • Tibiofemoral articulation: concave tibial plateaus articulate on the convex femoral condyles

Tibiofemoral posterior glide increases flexion

Tibiofemoral anterior glide increases extension

  • Talocrural joint: convex talus articulates with the concave mortise (tibia and fibula)

Talocrural dorsal or posterior glide increases dorsiflexion

Talocrural ventral or anterior glide increases plantarflexion

Resources[edit | edit source]

Kisner, C. & Colby, L.A. (2002). Therapeutic Exercise: Foundations and Techniques, 5th ed. F.A. Davis: Philadelphia.

References[edit | edit source]

References will automatically be added here, see adding references tutorial.

  1. My life Choice Osteokinematics VS Arthrokinematics Available from: (accessed 3.5.2021)