Joint movement can be described in two main ways. Osteokinematic movement is the movement of your body parts and it’s clearly visible to the naked eye. Arthrokinematic movement is movement that happens inside your joint capsules and cannot be seen.
Your joint surfaces slide, spin and roll across each other. This permits your bones to move through space. Impediments to healthy arthrokinematic movement limits osteokinematic movement.
This is awesome to know about, of course, but actually my favorite reason to have a basic understanding of the difference between osteokinematic and arthrokinematic joint movement is to know that when it comes to arthrokinematics, there’s a lot that we can’t see happening (or not happening) when someone moves. It’s also outside of our scope of practice to assess this manually or make assumptions about what is happening.
What it boils down to is…bone broth anyone? I kid…is that recognizing the difference between osteokinematic and arthrokinematic possible realities helps us to remember that we just don’t know what’s happening always. Sometimes a movement limitation isn’t related to fascia or muscle. Sometimes there’s a very hard truth to that limit.
And ultimately reckoning with this speaks to the good ethics of maintaining a healthy, curious, interested awareness of epistemology, or the limits on what we can know based on our methods for knowing.
This awareness of the limits of what we can know as yoga teachers (based on our limited methods for knowing, like, for example, we don’t have MRI vision) might help is overstep those limits by making assumptions, and false claims, and practicing outside of our scope.