The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. When put together, the skeletal system provides the base framework to which all the other tissues and organs attach, giving shape to the human body. The human skeleton has two distinct features, including opposable thumbs and an erect structure, allowing you to walk on two legs. The skeletal system is divided into two parts — the axial skeleton, made up of your spine, ribs, skull and breastbone, and the appendicular skeleton, made up of your pelvis, arm and leg bones. The skeleton has 9 main functions.
1.Shape.The shape of the body is determined by the skeletal framework. Your body shape develops as the skeletal system develops, making you look tall, short, narrow or wide. The size and shape of your hips, hands, feet, and other body parts also follow the shape of your skeleton. These characteristics may be genetically inherited and these are classified as body types such as ectomorphs (thin and tall), mesomorphs (muscular and short), and endomorphs (apple/pear-shaped
2.Support.Your skeleton supports the body and holds your internal organs in place. The spine or vertebral column lets you stand erect while other bones form hollow spaces to hold organs inside them. Your skull, for example, holds your brain, while your chest cavity contains your heart and lungs. On the other hand, the legs and feet, which are part of the lower appendages, support the body weight.
3.Movement.The bones are attached to other bones and muscles by ligaments and tendons and work together to produce various body movements, making up the musculoskeletal system. Muscles contract and pull bones to produce movements such as walking, running, or lifting. The differences in shapes of the bones play a role in differentiating movements. For example, the small bones in the foot allow you to adapt to walking different terrains, while the small bones of the hands allow you to do detailed, precise movements.
4.Protection.The bony skeleton encases vital organs and protects them from damage. The skull protects the brain, while the spinal column protects the spinal cord and nerves. The ribs and sternum comprise the thorax, which protect your lungs and heart.
5.Blood Cell Production.Long bones contain spongy tissue, which is composed of two types of bone marrow involved in the production of blood cells. Red marrow develops into blood cells. Yellow marrow stores some fat, which develops into red marrow during anemia or severe depletion of red blood cells.
6.Storage.Skeletal bones store minerals like phosphorus and calcium. These minerals are involved in many important body functions, such as metabolism and nerve transmission.
7.Endocrine Regulation.Recent studies show that one of the functions of the skeleton is endocrine regulation. Bones have been found to participate in controlling weight and sugar metabolism, which can help prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. The skeleton releases osteocalcin, a hormone that helps in blood sugar regulation and fat distribution. This hormone also increases insulin production and function, which is important hormone in blood sugar metabolism, and reduces fat accumulation.
8.Electrolyte Balance.Electrolytes like calcium and phosphate are stored in the skeletal system. These may be released into the circulation to help maintain electrolyte balance.
9.Acid-Base Balance.Bone may act as buffers that protect the body from drastic changes in levels of acidity or pH.
This list of functions of the skeleton shows that your bones do not just serve as a framework to support the body but they also participate in maintaining other important body functions.