13 Facts about the Skeleton System

Tuesday, January 5, 2021

13 Facts About the Skeletal System

Have you ever broken a bone? Well, you are not alone. Every year, around 6 million Americans break at least one of their bones. Though this injury is very painful, the good news is that the human skeletal system is composed of 206 bones. So while one bone may be out of commission, there are 205 more working together to provide support to the body. Let’s dive into some more interesting facts about the human skeletal system. 

1. In addition to bones, the skeletal system is also made of connective tissues such as cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. 

2.The human skeletal system is divided into two components: the axial and the appendicular. 

skeletal system
The axial skeleton consists of 80 bones and includes the vertebral column (the spine), a large portion of the cranium (skull), and the rib cage, to name a few examples. The axial skeleton protects vital organs of the body such as the brain, the heart, and the lungs, as well as the spinal cord.   

The appendicular system accounts for the other 126 bones of the body and includes the bones found in the appendages (arms, legs), in addition to the pelvic (hip) and pectoral (shoulder) bones. 

3. Bones are classified according to their shape. There are 5 “shape” categories: long, short, flat, irregular, and sesamoid. 

Long bones have a greater length than width, and are found in the arms, legs, and fingers. 
Examples of long arm bones include the humerus, ulna, and radius. Examples of long leg bones include the femur, tibia, and fibula. 

4. Finger bones are classified as either metacarpals or phalanges based on their location within the hand. Similarly, toe bones are classified as metatarsals or phalanges based on their location within the foot.  

bones of hand

5. Short bones look similar to a cube. The length, width, and thickness of short bones are approximately equal to one another. Examples of these bones include the carpals of the wrist and the tarsals of the ankle.

6. Flat bones are thin and often serve as points of attachment for muscles. Examples of flat bones include the cranial (skull) bones, the scapulae (shoulder blades), the sternum (breastbone), and the ribs. 

7. Irregular bones are so called because they come in weird shapes and sizes. They do not have a distinctive shape to them. Examples include the vertebral column that protects the spinal cord and pelvic bones such as the ilium and ischium.   

8. Sesamoid bones are found in the hands, knees, and feet, and usually have a round shape. An example of a sesamoid bone is the patella (knee cap). 

9. The skeletal system has several functions, including: facilitates movement, protects organs, serves as the body’s framework or support system, produces blood, and stores fats and minerals. 

bones and skeleton

10. Bone marrow is spongy tissue found inside bones. There are two types of bone marrow: red and yellow. Red bone marrow produces red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, whereas yellow bone marrow stores fats. 

11. White blood cells are an extremely important component of the immune system. There are many types of white blood cells (lymphocytes, monocytes, granulocytes) that all play a role in preventing and fighting infections. 

12. Bones act as a storage unit for minerals. In fact, bones contain 99% of the body’s calcium and 85% of the body’s phosphorus. Calcium contributes to how hard and strong a bone is. The body needs phosphorus to grow, repair cells, use fats and carbohydrates properly, among other things. 

13. Another name for a break in the bone is a bone “fracture.” Causes of bone fractures include trauma (falling from a tree), osteoporosis (a disorder that weakens bones), and overuse. 

In summary, the human skeletal system has two parts: the axial and appendicular skeleton. It contains 206 bones, as well as ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Bones can fall into 5 categories (long, short, flat, irregular, and sesamoid) based on their shape. The skeletal system’s main functions include movement, protection, support, blood production, and storage of fats and minerals. 

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