Skeletal System


The skeletal system performs multiple vital functions, for example, support, movement, protection, blood cell production, calcium storage and endocrine regulation

Roles of Bones, Ligaments, Muscles, Tendons and Nerves in the Human Environment

Bones - provide support for our bodies and help form our shape. The skull protects the brain and forms the shape of our face. The spinal cord, a pathway for messages between the brain and the body, is protected by the backbone, or spinal column. The ribs form a cage that shelters the heart, lungs, liver, and spleen, and the pelvis helps protect the bladder, intestines, and in girls, the reproductive organs. Although they're very light, bones are strong enough to support our entire weight.

Muscles - are also necessary for movement: They're the masses of tough, elastic tissue that pull our bones when we move.

Ligaments - provide joint stability. Their primary function is to prevent movement that might damage a joint.

Tendons - A tendon is a fibrous connective tissue which attaches muscle to bone. Tendons may also attach muscles to structures such as the eyeball. A tendon serves to move the bone or structure.

Nerves - Nerves give you feeling all over your body. Pain, numbness, being able to feel; it's all from nerves. Nerves carry signals to and between part of your body. When you touch something hot, a sensation goes through the hand to the nerves, and the nerves give signals to the brain. The brain recognizes it is hot, so the brain sends signals to the nerves in your hand to withdraw.

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Flatfeet (Pes Planus)

You have flatfeet when the arch on the inside of your feet is flattened, allowing the entire sole of your foot to touch the floor when you stand up. A common and usually painless condition, flatfeet may occur when the arches don't develop during childhood. In other cases, flatfeet may develop after an injury or from the simple wear-and-tear stresses of age. Flatfeet can sometimes contribute to problems in your ankles and knees because the condition can alter optimal alignment of your legs. If you aren't experiencing any pain, no treatment is usually necessary for flatfeet.


A flatfoot may cause no symptoms. Symptoms of flatfoot include pain that may be in the inside arch, heel, or ankle and on the outside of the foot just below the ankle. Flattening of the arch can lead to rolling in of the foot and ankle and tilting outward of the heel. Flatfoot can also cause shin pain (shin splints), and aching of the knee, hip, and/or lower back.


Prevalence of flexible flat foot in the group of 3- to 6-year-old children was 44%. Prevalence of pathological flat foot was <1%. Ten percent of the children were wearing arch supports. The prevalence of flat foot decreases significantly with age: in the group of 3-year-old children 54% showed a flat foot, whereas in the group of 6-year-old children only 24% had a flat foot. Average rearfoot angle was 5.5° of valgus. Boys had a significant greater tendency for flat foot than girls: the prevalence of flat foot in boys was 52% and 36% in girls. Thirteen percent of the children were overweight or obese. Significant differences in prevalence of flat foot between overweight, obese, and normal-weight children were observed.

Treatment Options:

It really depends on the type of flatfoot, its stage of progression, and the symptoms. Early treatment is advised whether one's condition is a flexible, rigid, or adult acquired flatfoot. Treatments include proper shoe gear, over-the-counter inserts, custom functional orthotics, bracing, casting, physical therapy, NSAIDs, weight loss, changes in activities, and surgery.

Bone Cancer

There are three types of bone cancer:

  • Osteosarcoma - occurs most often between ages 10 and 19. It is more common in the knee and upper arm.
  • Chondrosarcoma - starts in cartilage, usually after age 40
  • Ewing's sarcoma - occurs most often in children and teens under 19. It is more common in boys than girls.


The most common symptom of bone cancer is pain. Other symptoms vary, depending on the location and size of the cancer. Surgery is often the main treatment for bone cancer. Other treatments may include amputation, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy. Because bone cancer can come back after treatment, regular follow-up visits are important.


Number of New Cases and Deaths per 100,000: The number of new cases of bone and joint cancer was 0.9 per 100,000 men and women per year. The number of deaths was 0.4 per 100,000 men and women per year. These rates are age-adjusted and based on 2007-2011 cases and deaths.

Lifetime Risk of Developing Cancer: Approximately 0.1 percent of men and women will be diagnosed with bone and joint cancer at some point during their lifetime, based on 2009-2011 data.

Treatment Options:

  • Surgery is the usual treatment for bone cancer. The surgeon removes the entire tumor with negative margins (no cancer cells are found at the edge or border of the tissue removed during surgery). The surgeon may also use special surgical techniques to minimize the amount of healthy tissue removed with the tumor.

    Dramatic improvements in surgical techniques and preoperative tumor treatment have made it possible for most patients with bone cancer in an arm or leg to avoid radical surgical procedures (removal of the entire limb). However, most patients who undergo limb-sparing surgery need reconstructive surgery to maximize limb function.

  • Chemotherapy is the use of anticancer drugs to kill cancer cells. Patients who have bone cancer usually receive a combination of anticancer drugs. However, chemotherapy is not currently used to treat chondrosarcoma.

  • Radiation therapy, also called radiotherapy, involves the use of high-energy x-rays to kill cancer cells. This treatment may be used in combination with surgery. It is often used to treat chondrosarcoma, which cannot be treated with chemotherapy, as well as ESFTs. It may also be used for patients who refuse surgery.

  • Cryosurgery is the use of liquid nitrogen to freeze and kill cancer cells. This technique can sometimes be used instead of conventional surgery to destroy the tumor.