The Human Body Skeleton System

The Skeleton

The framework of bones, joints and cartilage of the human body is called the skeletal system. Without this framework we would be unable to perform such movements such as walking, grapevines, squats, step ups or press-ups. We would simply be blobs of muscle and fat. Such an image reflects the most obvious functions of the skeleton; support the body. the skeletal system also preforms the following functions;

Movement

The skeleton provides a series of independent movable levers. When the muscles contract, the bones act as levers to
produce movement.

Shape

The shape of the skeleton gives the body its characteristic shape and provides a framework for attachment of the muscles of the body.

Protection

The skeleton protects the delicate internal structures. For example, the skull protects the brain, rib cage protects the heart and lungs, the vertebral column protects the spinal cord and the pelvis protects the abdominal and reproductive organs.

Storage

Bones serve as storage areas for mineral salts, such as calcium and magnesium phosphate, both of which are essential for growth and good health. In fact, bone owes the hardness,i.e compression strength, to these mineral deposits.

Blood cell production

The marrow of certain bones constantly produces red and white cells.

Postures

Lordosis

Is excessive curvature of the lumbar vertebrae, Which can be seen in pregnant women during the later stages of pregnancy. This is due to the increased weight of the baby pulling altering the mother's center of gravity, pulling the weight forward and tilting the pelvis forward.

Kyphosis

Is an excessive curvature outwards in the upper thoracic vertebrae, which can be seen in individuals suffering from a 'Dowages' Hump' and also in advanced cases of osteoporosis where the spinal bone density has deteriorated.

Scoliosis

Can affect either the thoracic or lumbar curves. It represents excessive curvature to one side of the spinal cord, giving it a distinctive s-shape. This commonly occurs when leg lengths differ for example, in mothers who favor carrying their children on the hip.

Gender Differences

There are only minor differences between male and female skeletons. Generally male bones tend to be heavier than the corresponding bones of the female. The females have a greater carrying angle at the elbow joint, a smaller femoral head at the hip joint and the pelvis is wider to accommodate childbirth.

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