Bones are the fundamental part of our skeletons which are crucial to us as human beings as if these don’t function the way that they are supposed to, our movement is hampered. Think about when part of your skeleton is compromised when – for example – your leg is broken. You can’t walk properly – let alone exercise or do anything else you are used to doing.

In this article you’ll learn about the types of bones, what their functions are and how they are made up.

Different types of bones

There are four different types of bones that make up the human skeleton:

1. Flat bones
2. Irregular bones
3. Short bones
4. Long bones

Certified nursing assistant, Michelle Kulas, gives examples of these types of bones:

1. The most well-known flat bone is the skull which covers and protects the brain. It is made up of eight bones: one frontal bone, two temporal bones, two parietal bones, an occipital bone, an ethmoid bone and a sphenoid bone.

2. The spine consists of 24 irregular bones: the vertebrae, sacrum and coccyx.

3. Short bones are typically spongy and can be found in the wrists and ankles.

4. Long bones can be found in your limbs, for example the femur.

Sesamoid bones are embedded in tendons or muscles, for example the patella or the knee bone.

What are the functions of bones?

As stated above, bones form an integral part of our skeletons. As such they play an integral part in movement. Other vital functions that bones have are:

  • Storing calcium and other minerals,
  • Synthesising blood cells, and
  • Protecting delicate vital organs.

What do bones look like?

Bones come in different shapes depending on the type of bone it is. However, they all have the same composition:

• Cartilage:  This covers the articulating surfaces of the bone, in other words where a bone meets another bone and forms a joint. Cartilage is damaged by trauma or excessive wear and tear through age. Diseases that affect the cartilage of the bone include osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

• Bone marrow:  The centre of the bone is hollow and bone marrow is situated in this hollow. It is red in children and becomes yellow in adulthood owing to the deposits of fat.

• Periosteum: This covers the external bone but not at the surface of joints.

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