Synovial fluid: what is it and how does exercise affect it?

Physio Brad Beer explains the role synovial fluid plays in keeping our joints healthy, and how exercise affects it - in a good way

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What is synovial fluid?

Synovial joints – such as the knee, the hip, the ankle, the elbow and the wrist – enable us to move and manipulate objects. The inside of each synovial joint capsule is lined with a thin membrane that secretes synovial fluid.  


Why is synovial fluid important? 

The principal role of this fluid is to reduce friction between the articular cartilage surfaces of our synovial joints during movement. It also provides nourishment for the cartilage of our synovial joints.

How does exercise affect synovial fluid?

Exercise has been shown to boost the production of synovial fluid, in essence helping to keep our synovial joints ‘well-oiled’. Science has now supported the theory that, contrary to popular belief, exercise can be protective for our joints, and the aforementioned secretion of synovial fluid plays a big part in promoting joint health.

What happens if you inure your joint?

In an injured joint, excess synovial fluid can distend it, produce pain and swelling, and interfere with the normal transport of nourishment between the synovial membrane and the cartilage.



Brad Beer is a a physiotherapist, author and the fFounder of a company called POGO Physio. He specialises in helping active people perform at their physical best, by keeping them pain and injury free