The basic structure of a synovial joint consists of a synovial cavity, articular cartilage, a fibrous articular capsule, and ligaments. The synovial cavity (also called joint cavity) is the space between two articulating bones. The articular cartilage covers and protects the bone ends. The articular cartilage also acts as a shock absorber. The articular capsule encloses the joint structure. It consists of an outer layer, the fibrous membrane, and an inner lining, the synovial membrane. Ligaments are fibrous thickenings of the articular capsule that help provide stability.