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Skeletal Health and Disorders

Skeletal Health and Disorders

Author: Amanda Soderlind

Classify common disorders and injuries associated with the skeleton.

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Skeletal Health


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In this lesson today, we are going to discuss the effects that diet and exercise can have on our skeletal system. So exercise affects bone remodeling by increasing the amount of calcium deposited into bones. So we're going to take a look at this diagram right here, which might be familiar from a few lessons back when we discussed homeostasis in bone remodeling. So we're going to review this just briefly.

So if blood calcium levels are too high, calcium will then be deposited into bones. So when we have too much calcium in our blood that calcium will then be taken from the blood and deposited into bones. So the bones will be built stronger and denser by a cell called osteoblast.

And on the other side of that, if calcium levels in our blood are too low, a cell called osteoclast will remove calcium from the bone and deposit it into the blood to help maintain that blood calcium level. And remember, proper blood calcium levels are needed for nervous system and muscular system to be able to function properly.

So calcium definitely has a large effect on how healthy our bones are. The more calcium that's deposited into our bones, the better, because it makes those bones stronger and more dense.

So basically by exercising, what that does is it increases the amount of calcium deposited into bone. As we exercise, more calcium is deposited into bone than is withdrawn. And the more that's deposited, the better, because, as I said, bones will then be stronger and more dense.

So aside from exercise, diet can also have an effect on the density of our bones. So a diet that's high in calcium, obviously, will be better. Bones will be stronger because that calcium then will be deposited into the bones.

So people who live a lifestyle who don't exercise or maybe don't have a diet that's high in calcium can run the risk later in life of developing diseases like osteoporosis, which is where the bone density levels decrease significantly. And people who don't have very strong or dense bones are also at a greater risk of breaking or fracturing their bones as well.

So by exercising, having a diet high in calcium, it's really helping those bones to become more strong and more dense, avoiding some of those different diseases later in life. So this lesson has been an overview on how exercise and nutrition can have effects on your skeletal system.

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Disorders of the Skeletal System

Source: Video and Images Created by Amanda Soderlind

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Welcome to this lesson on skeletal system disorders.

Today we will be briefly discussing various disorders that affect the skeletal system that could be caused from anything from aging, overuse, lifestyle, or various other causes.

The first disorder we're going to take a look at today is osteoporosis. Osteoporosis, the description of this disorder is a loss of bone mass, or deterioration of bone over time. The main cause for osteoporosis is actually aging. Deficiencies in calcium are another big cause of this disorder. So if you have a diet that is lacking in calcium, bones aren't able to stay as strong and resilient as they otherwise would, so that bone will start to lose mass over time. Something else that contributes to osteoporosis is a sedentary lifestyle. So not exercising, not getting enough exercise to build the bone mass is something that can cause that mass to be lost more quickly, as well. So aging, deficiencies in calcium, and sedentary lifestyles are the three main causes for osteoporosis. And osteoporosis is actually a disorder that is most common in women who are past menopause. So they're the ones that are affected most by this disorder

Our next disorder is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a disorder where the cartilage between the joints starts to wear away. This is caused by stress on the joints, disease, sports injury, obesity and age. So all of these things add stress to the joints, which can cause that cartilage to slowly wear way, which can be very painful, as well. Because then you have the ends of the bones kind of rubbing against each other, and they don't have that cartilage cushion in between them like they normally would.

Our next disorder is carpal tunnel syndrome. This disorder occurs when the tendons of the wrist swell, and press on nerves, causing pain. This disorder is actually really common in people who work on computers a lot, or an office buildings, because it's the repetitive motion, such as typing, that causes stress on the tendons of the wrist. And then as those tendons get stressed, they'll swell and press on the nerves, and they can cause a lot of pain in the wrist.

Our next disorder is sprains, strains, and dislocations. These are all disorders that are caused by injury of the joints. A sprain is a tear in a ligament or tendon. A strain is when a ligament or tendon has been stretched or twisted too far, and a dislocation is when two bones at a joint that were in contact, are no longer in contact anymore. Such as if you were to dislocate your shoulder, for example, those two bones that make up that joint are no longer in contact. Common causes of these types of disorders are sports injuries, overuse, or mechanical stress. So it's causing injury to the joint, which can cause sprains, strains, or dislocations.

Breaks are another common disorder of the skeletal system. This basically, a break is when a bone is broken. This can vary a little bit. There's a spectrum of breaks, and so it's classified by the degree of the break. It can either be a simple, complete or compound fracture. So these are caused by a sports injuries, overuse, and mechanical stress, as well.

We're going to take a look here at the different types breaks. Our classification of breaks. So as I mentioned, we have three classifications of breaks. We have simple fractures, complete fractures, and compound fractures. Our first example here is of a simple fracture. A simple fracture is basically just-- you can see here-- a small fracture in a bone. It doesn't completely go through the entire bone, and there's not going to be any surrounding tissue damage. So it's just a very simple fracture. Hence its name.

Our next type of break it is a complete fracture. So complete fracture. In a complete fracture, the bone actually-- you'll notice-- breaks into two pieces. So we have one piece here and one piece here. So we had our break go through, and it broke it into two pieces. With this type of break, or with this type of fracture, there will be some soft tissue damage associated with it. So you'll see it's a little bit more complex than our simple fracture.

And our last type of break is a compound fracture. With this type of break, this is actually the worst type. So you'll notice that the bone, rather than cleanly breaking, as in a complete break, bone fragments have actually shattered. You can see that right here. So generally what happens with this type of-- with this type of fracture is that the broken ends of the bone will puncture the skin, so you have an open wound, in addition to other soft tissue damage. So it's a much more serious type of break, that causes much more damage to the person.

So these are the three types of breaks. Simple being the least complex, and compound fracture being the most complex and the most serious.

This lesson has been an overview on various disorders of the skeletal system. Keep in mind, however, that these are not the only disorders of the bones. Other disorders, such as cancer, can also have an effect on the skeletal system.

Terms to Know
Bone Remodeling

The process in which calcium is recycled between the blood and bones.


A mineral necessary for the proper development and mineralization, as well as proper nerve and muscle function.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

The inflammation of tendons in the wrist which then press on surrounding nerves; caused by repeated motion.

Complete Fracture

​A break in which the bone separates into two and tissue damage occurs.

Compound Fracture

A break in which the bone shatters causing a significant amount of soft tissue damage.


​A disorder in which two bones of a joint are no longer in contact with each other.


The wearing away of cartilage that occurs between joints which can lead to inflammation and the formation of small protrusions on bones near the joint called bone spurs.


​A disorder in which the bone tissue deteriorates over time.

Simple Fracture

​A break in which the bone is still in one piece and minimal or no tissue damage occurs.


​A torn ligament or tendon caused by overuse.


​An overuse injury that stretches a tendon past its normal point.