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Skeletal System

The skeletal system creates the basic structure of your body. You probably know that bones make up a lot of your skeletal system, but joints, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments are also important parts of the skeletal system.

In a fully intact adult human body, there are 206 bones! The smallest bones are the ones in your inner ear, and the largest bones are found in your thighs. Imagine if you didn’t have bones in your body. What do you think would happen? Bones provide support for your body’s structure as well as protection for the vulnerable organs inside you. The combination of your bones and muscles allows you to move your body, so without your bones, you wouldn’t be able to move! Finally, blood cells are created and minerals like calcium are stored inside your bones.

As you are growing into a young adult, your bones actually grow! Once you are in adulthood, as you grow older, your bone density begins to decline. This is why it is important to do exercises that will strengthen your bones.

A joint is a place in your body where two bones are connected with ligaments or cartilage. There are many different types of joints in your body – after all, there are 206 bones and many connections between them! Think about how differently your hips, wrists, and elbows move. These joints all have different types of movements they can do.

A tendon is a tissue that connects bones to muscles. Muscle contractions are what allow you and your bones to move around. Read more about muscles in the Muscular System section.

Written using information from NIH National Cancer Institute and NIH National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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