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synovial fluid

hip joint
Hip joint, showing location of synovial fluid
Credit: UAB Health System

A clear, viscuous fluid with a stringy, egg-like consistency (the Latin synovium means "with egg") found in synovial joint (freely-moveable joint) cavities, bursae, and tendon sheaths. Synovial fluid acts as a lubricant, reducing the friction between articular cartilage and other tissues in joints, and also as a shock absorber during movement. It is secreted by synovial membranes.

The viscous and elastic properties of synovial fluid are due to hyaluronan, a long chain glycosaminoglycan carbohydrate with a molecular mass of about 1 million.

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