Bones and their surrounding tissue, ligaments, muscles, and joints comprise the musculoskeletal system of the human body. The bones themselves have two distinct parts, the hard exterior that consists largely of proteins, and the softer interior where the all-important blood cells are manufactured by the bone marrow.
A bone may break or fracture when the force applied against it is greater than the strength of the bone itself. The severity of the fracture depends on several factors including the victim's overall health, age, and type of impact. Obviously, car wrecks or auto accidents can contribute mightily to broken bones.
The two most common types of breaks are the simple and compound fractures. A simple fracture occurs when the bone breaks yet does not puncture the skin. A compound fracture can be more serious as the broken bone pierces the skin increasing the risk of infection.
Most fractures take at least four, and up to eight weeks to heal and often require complete immobilization of the affected area. Bones are able to regenerate themselves, and a doctor will likely realign the bone so that the two broken segments will grow back as one. A doctor may also apply a splint or cast around the affected area to assist with immobilization. Some complex fractures may require a surgical procedure to stabilize the bone with metal rods and plates.
A dislocation occurs when a joint connecting two bones is injured, thereby causing the bones to separate. Dislocations typically occur in the shoulder, jaw, and knee. A dislocation can be quite painful, and a doctor may have to physically realign the joint and bones, either by noninvasive manipulation of the affected area or through a surgical procedure.
Bones come together forming joints. Joints make possible the degree and direction of motion. Joints also provide stability and help to prevent damage to bones from constant use.
Muscles are comprised of bundles of fibers and assist with posture and movement. Skeletal muscles are attached to bones and are arranged in opposing groups surrounding the joints.
Several disorders are associated with joints and muscles. Some of these disorders include, but are not limited to, myositis, rhabdomyolysis, arthritis, hip degeneration, and fibromyalgia.
Recently, the Bayer Pharmaceutical company removed its popular cholesterol lowering drug Baycol from the market after reports that at least 40 people have died after developing myositis and rhabdomyolysis caused by the drug. View sub-topics at right to learn more about some specific joint and muscle disorders and some of their common causes.
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