The skeletal system works as a support structure for your body. It gives the body its shape, allows movement, makes blood cells, provides protection for organs and stores minerals. The skeletal system is also called the musculoskeletal system.
The skeletal system is your body’s central framework. It consists of bones and connective tissue, including cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. It’s also called the musculoskeletal system.
The skeletal system has many functions. Besides giving us our human shape and features, it:
The skeletal system is a network of many different parts that work together to help you move. The main part of your skeletal system consists of your bones, hard structures that create your body’s framework — the skeleton. There are 206 bones in an adult human skeleton. Each bone has three main layers:
The other components of your skeletal system include:
Many conditions can affect the bones, joints, and tissues that make up the skeletal system. Some happen as a result of disease or injury. Others develop due to wear and tear as you get older. Conditions that may affect the skeletal system can include:
To keep your skeletal system strong and healthy, you should:
Your healthcare provider will classify a fracture based on the way the bone breaks. Types of fractures include:
If you break a bone, you’ll need an imaging test called an X-ray so your doctor can identify the type of fracture. Depending on the severity of the break, you’ll need to immobilize it (prevent it from moving) in a cast or brace for three to eight weeks. Broken bones can take several months to heal completely.
Call your healthcare provider if pain, swelling, or stiffness in your bones or joints lasts more than a few days or interferes with your daily activities. Orthopedic doctors specialize in the skeletal system. These doctors can help you manage issues with:
If you suspect you may have broken a bone, go to the emergency room or see your healthcare provider. You’ll need treatment to make sure it heals properly.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/19/2019.
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