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What Are the Components of the Skeletal System?

By T. Carrier
Updated Feb 09, 2024
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Several systems work in tandem to support the human body’s function. The skeletal system provides the body with its structure, and it also protects internal organs and aids in movement. Bones are the primary contributors of the skeleton. Inner bone marrow is important to bodily functioning as well. Other components of the skeletal system include connecting ligaments, tendons, and joints.

Most vital organs are located in the chest, so parts of the skeletal system located in this area are designed primarily for protection. The ribcage bones enclose organs ranging from the heart to the lungs. Another important protective bone encases the brain, the skull.

The components of the skeletal system that facilitate movement are primarily located in the arms and legs. These include the long femur and tibia of the leg and the humerus and radius of the arm. In addition, smaller bones like the metacarpals, metatarsals, and phalanges make up the fingers and toes. A different bone located in the head, the mandible, helps move the mouth.

Several other bones are also components of the skeletal system, and these bones join one part of the body to another. For example, the pelvic bone connects the upper body to the lower body. In contrast, the cervical vertebrae serve as the meeting place between the head and the upper body. Scapula and clavicle bones, on the other hand, help join the arms to the body.

While all bones provide some form of structural support and body design, long columns of bones found in the chest and back are especially vital in anchoring the human body and keeping it upright. In the back, the spine is comprised of a primary set of supportive bones known as vertebrae. These bones run from the neck to the pelvis. The bone at the front of the ribcage to which ribs are affixed is known as the sternum.

Bones must be held together by tough structures, so ligaments and tendons are crucial components of the skeletal system. These connective tissues are durable banded fibers that attach muscles and bones together and facilitate movement. Cushioning sacs called bursa are often found around tendons and ligaments, and these fluid-filled structures aid in softening strain and tension of the joints.

The points at which bones join together are known as joints. Hinge joints like those found at the elbow and the knee permit movements like bending and flexing. Twisting and turning are made easier by ball-and-socket joints, located in areas such as the shoulder. In order to prevent damage to bones as they move and rub together, a spongy substance called cartilage is found between many bones.

A more unusual duty is assigned to the inner bone area. Bones are not hollow, but rather are comprised of both hard external material and a softer internal substance called bone marrow. Marrow is partially responsible for blood cell production in the body.

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Discussion Comments
By serenesurface — On Jul 08, 2014

A relative of mine had a car accident few years ago. It was a very bad accident and he had several broken rib bones.

We don't sometimes forget how well structured the human body is and how everything is located so aptly. If it weren't for the rib cage, my relative would have certainly died from the blow to his chest. His ribs protected his vital organs and they did not suffer injury at all.

It took some time for the bones to heal but he's as good as new now.

By discographer — On Jul 08, 2014

@bluedolphin-- I think that the bones of the limbs and the other bones are labeled differently. The rib cage is part of the axial skeleton. The skull, the vertebral column and the rib cage are all connected and they form one part.

The bones making up the upper and lower limbs, so the arms, hands, legs and feet make up the appendicular skeleton. The pelvic bone is included in the category as well.

By bluedolphin — On Jul 07, 2014

The skeletal system is divided into several parts right? Which part is the rib cage included in?

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