a series of limitations of joint movement when the joint capsule is a limiting structure. An example is the range in glenohumeral joints, from flexion as the least limited movement to external rotation as the most limited movement. It occurs only in synovial joints that are controlled by muscles and not in joints that depend primarily on ligamentous stability, such as the sacroiliac.
cap·su·lar pat·tern(kap'sū-lăr pat'ĕrn)
The pattern of limitation in range of motion exhibited by specific joints when inflamed; for example, the glenohumeral joint shows more limitation in external rotation than in internal rotation whereas the knee joint shows more limitation in flexion than in extension.
In a joint, the proportional loss or limitation of passive range of motion that suggests inflammation in that joint (e.g., the capsular pattern of the glenohumeral joint, in order of most restriction, is lateral rotation, abduction, and medial rotation).