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Ways That Joints Within the Skeleton OperateEssay

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Human skeleton is an integral part of the human body. It acts as the frame just like the beams and supports of a house keep the house together. It also provides the structure for veins and muscles, just like the stake of a tomato plant provides the structure for the plant to climb up. However, just as a house can get pests or termites and a stake can break apart, the skeleton can be affected by diseases that erode it. This paper will address what makes a skeleton what it is, how it works, how it relates to the rest of the body, and how it can be hurt by disease.

The major components of the skeleton are the skull, rib cage, spinal cord, upper limb, lower limb and pelvic girdle. The minor components of the skeleton are the parts that that make up these major components, such as vertebrae, una, rib, sternum, clavicle, patella, radius, carpels, phalanges, etc. There are many bones in the human skeleton. In fact, people are born with more than 300 bones in their bodies (and more than half of these are found in the limbs). However, as we age, some bones fuse together to form a single piece, such as in the head. That part of the skeleton is not fused at birth, which helps the baby to fit through the birth canal.

The skeleton is divided into parts according to scientists. There is the appendicular skeleton, which contains the pectoral and pelvic girdles as well as the bones within all four limbs. Then there is the axial skeleton, which contains the bones of the upper half -- the skull, rib cage, and vertebral column. There a joints where bones meet and work together. Movements possible at synovial joints is partly because of synovial fluid between the bones. When a person pops a knuckle, for instance, the sound one hears is the displacement and replacement of synovial fluid. The fluid is there to prevent friction between the bones and is enclosed within the capsule that surrounds the joint. It is like oil in an engine, without which the pistons cannot move smoothly. If an engine loses oil, the engine explodes. The same too happens in a sense if the synovial fluid exits, the bones will ache from rubbing against one another in the joint. Synovial fluid is also found in those areas between tendons and bones called bursae, which are like synovial filled pillows.

The major synovial joints are six in type: they are 1) plane, 2) hinge, 3) pivot, 4) condyloid, 5) saddle, and 6) ball and socket. Plane joints are flat and essentially allow the bones to slip or glide in one direction or another. There is no rotation, for instance, just leeway to help give the skeleton its diverse functionality. These are nonaxial joints found in the intercarpal joint locations and in the vertebral column.

Hinge joints are like knobs that fit into an indentation -- one bone slips into another -- and it acts just like a mechanical hinge, movement allowed on one plane: these are found in the elbow joints, for instance. If you bend your elbow you find that you are only able to move it in one single plane of movement, not a variety of rotations, etc.

Pivot joints are where a round head of a bone sticks into a ring that is made of bone and/or ligaments on another bone. Unlike the hinge joint where one bone slips into the hollow cavity of another bone, the pivot joint is where one bone extends a kind of bony rope around the head of another bone, allowing for uniaxial rotation of the one bone on its own axis. When a person shakes his head from side to side, he is making use of the pivot joint.

Condyloid joints are similar to hinge joints but consist of an oval head of a bone fitting into a depression in the joining bone. Both bones are ovular in shape and joint allows for motion in all angular directions, making the joint biaxial. This is found in wrist joints and knuckle joints.

Saddle joints are like condyloids just on a bigger scale in the sense that there is the ability for more movement in saddle joints. One bone fits into the indentation of another, essentially. The thumb is an example of this joint.

Ball and socket joints are composed of a round head (or sometimes half-circle) that fits into the socket of another. These joints allow for the most freedom of movement and are multiaxial. The shoulders and the hip joints are examples of ball and socket joints.

There are tendons that connect muscles to bones, like rope connects sails to a ship. And there are ligaments that attach bones to bones at joints. Skeletal muscles, which are controlled voluntarily, and assist in bending over, picking up objects, etc., are attached to the bone via tendon.

The flow of signals and material throughout the body is carried out by the nervous system, which is like a computer circuit. The central nervous system gives impulses to other parts of the body, which act as receptors. Neurons carry synapses, which give off chemical signals. There are more synapses in the brain than there are stars in the galaxy. Neurotransmiters contain chemicals that are interpreted by different receptors on the neurons. So the body essentially has its own coded language, which biologists attempt to understand. Regardless, these neurons and cells are all throughout the body, sending and receiving messages and participating in the movement of oxygen in and out of the blood stream, the digestion of food, etc. There is an incessant flow of information throughout the body at any one moment. The senses (taste, touch, sight, smell, hearing) are always active, and always transmitting signals to the brain for processing, which transmits information back to the rest of the body in response in lightning quick time. Thus, all parts of the body are coordinated and coordinating at the same instant. The skeleton assists in all this by acting like the frame for an electrical conduit, or the telephone poles of telephone wire that are strung throughout an entire city. The poles keep the wires together and give the entire arrangement a supported structure; so too does the skeleton give the body a supported structure.

Bones are typically categorized by their form and function (characteristic traits). In the skull, there are two sets of bone -- cranial and facial. These bones perform a specific function of protection regarding the major organs within the head, such as the brain, eyes, mouth, nose. The cranial bones number eight and interlock at their joints: they are the frontal bone, the parietal bones (two), the temporal bones (two), and the occipital at the back of the cranium. There are fourteen bones in the face -- the mandible, upper jaw, maxilla, and cheek bones.

The rib cage protects organs as well -- the lungs, heart, etc. As the name suggests, it acts as a cage, formed by 24 ribs, 12 on each side of the cage. The vertebral column consists of vertebrae which are stacked one atop the other and provide the basic support for the whole skeleton, just like the foundation of a house and the support columns provide the base and support of the building.

The appendicular skeleton, consisting of the pelvic girdle and the pectoral girdle plus the bones in the arms and legs, protects organs and provides the frame for movements of the body. The pectoral girdle is another name for the shoulder, which consists of the scapula (shoulder blade) and clavicle (collar bone). The shoulder blade acts as an anchor for muscles that are used in the upper half of the arm. The collar bone is lighter and weaker, but serves as a brace for the shoulder blade, by restricting it and keeping it from advancing more than it should.

The arms contain 30 bones, mostly in the lower half. The upper arm has just one -- the humerus. The forearm consists of two bones, the ulna and the radius, both of which connect to the humerus. The two bones are parallel to one another when the arm is extended outward, palm up. If you turn your hand palm down, the arm moves in such a way that the two bones cross, the radius over the ulna. The wrist consists of 8 bones, and there are 19 bones in the hand. The legs are similar to the arms, in that they each have 30 bones.

The pelvic girdle consists of two bones and is very strong and hard. These two bones are the large coxal bones, also called hip bones. The hip bones protect organs in the abdomen, like the intestines, but they also act as a kind of support structure for the body's upper half weight.

There are several skeletal diseases that can affect the individual, such as arthritis, osteoporosis, rickets, tendinitis, clubfoot, bursitis,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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