The Skeleton, bones and joints

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Functions of the skeleton

  1. Protection - the cranium and ribs protect the brain and vital organs in the chest.
  2. Shape - gives shape to the body and makes you tall or short.
  3. Support - holds your vital organs in place when playing sport. The vertebral column holds the body upright.
  4. Movement - muscle are attached to bones, which are jointed. When the muscles contract the bones move.
  5. Blood production - red blood cells (to carry oxygen) and white blood cells (to protect against infection) are produced in the bone marrow of some bones.
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Names of bones

Cranium (skull)                               Scapula (shoulder blade)
Vertebral Column (spine)              Humerus (upper arm)
Rib cage                                        Radius (outside forearm)
Sternum (breast bone)                  Ulna (inside forearm)
Pelvic Girdle                                 Carpals (wrist)
Femur (thigh bone)                        Metacarpals (hand)
Patella (knee cap)                         Tarsals (ankle)
Tibia (shin bone)                            Metatarsals (foot)
Fibula (behind shin bone)              Phalanges (fingers and toes)     

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The Vertebral Column (image)


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Types of vertebrae

- Supports head and neck
- Top vertebra (atlas) allows head to nod
- Second vertebra (axis) allows head to rotate


- Ribs are attatched, which make a protective cage
- Allows some movement

- Allows a large range of movement
- Prone to injury

- The bones are fused togeter
- Make a strong base and transmit force from legs to upper body
- Fused vertebrae, no special use

- Act as shock absorbers between vertebrae

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Synovial joint image


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Synovial Joints

Cartilage reduces friction. Acts as a shock absorber.

Synovial fluid lubricates the joint.

Synovial membrane produces synovial fluid.

Tendon joins muscle to bone enabling movement.

Ligament joins bone to bone, stabilising the joint.

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Limb movements

  -  moving the limb away from the mid-line

  -  moving the limb toward the mid-line

-  bending the limb at a joint

  -  straightening a limb out at a joint

    - moving the limb around a fixed point

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Bone growth

- the bones of embryos are mainly made of cartillage
- the process of ossification uses calcium to create bone
- bones gradually become hard and strong
- with age, bones lose their density and strength. When severe this is called osteoporosis
- eating food containing calcium and exercising helps bones to develop and stay strong(

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Types of bone

1.  Long e.g femur, humerus - for movement with strength and speed

2.  Short e.g carpals, tarsals - for shock absorption, spreading the load

3.  Flat e.g cranium - protection of vital organs, attachment of muscles to help movement

4.  Irregular e.g vertebrae, face - provide shape, protection

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The composition of a Long Bone

Hyaline cartilage - covers the ends of the bones, stops them rubbing together and absorbs shock.
Epiphysis - the ‘head’ of the bone.
Cancellous bone - spongy bone that stores the red bone marrow; where blood cells are made.
Epiphyseal plate – the area where bones grow in length.
Diaphysis - the shaft.
Compact bone – hard, dense bone. It gives strength to the hollow part of the bone.
Periosteum – a protective layer where there is no hyaline cartilage. Ligaments and tendons attach to the periosteum.

Medullary cavity/marrow cavity - contains the yellow bone marrow; where white blo
od cells are made.(

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Types of joints

Hinge e.g elbow, knee - flexion and extension

Pivot e.g axis and atlas (top of neck) - rotation of one bone around another

Ball and socket e.g hip, shoulder - flexion, abduction, adduction, rotation

Saddle e.g thumb - flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, circumduction

Condyloid e.g wrist joints - flexion, extension, adduction, abduction, circumduction

Gliding e.g intercarpel joints - gliding movements

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Types of joints (image)


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