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All About Bone Functions: Type, Structure, Tissue, and Cells

  • Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri
  • 6 Min Read
  • Fact Checked

All about bone functions: type, structure, tissue, and cells

– Bones give shape and structure to our bodies

– Bones protect our vital organs like the brain and heart

– Blood cells like RBCs, WBCs, platelets, and other immune cells are made in bones

– Bones act as a storage place for stem cells, calcium, and certain fat cells

what is bone function

Introduction

Bones give structure and provide support to our bodies. 

In fact, why we humans are on top of the food chain, among many other things such as the brain, is due to the network of bones that shapes our external physique. 

The way the bones shape our external physique allows us to perform sophisticated functions like operating computers and weapons, which makes mankind extremely powerful. 

Further, bones protect our vital organs. For example, our skull protects our brain. The rib cage protects our heart, lungs, liver, pancreas, and so on. 

Bones also act as storage places for stem cells and calcium.

They also produce blood cells such as RBCs, WBCs, and platelets. There’s just so much that our bones do. Let’s look at some of them in detail.

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What are the function of bones:

Following are some functions of bones:

(1) Bones provide support to our bodies

Bones provide a support structure to our bodies.

For example, the lower limbs support our upper body. Similarly, the spine supports our back and helps us stand tall. Without bones, we’d have no shape.

Therefore, when we have bone deformities, we can end up with the wrong posture. Poor posture causes wear and tear of your ligaments, joints, and muscles, causing injuries. 

Read more on posture deformities.

(2) Bones help us in our movements

Bones play an important role in our movements. 

Your muscles are attached to the bones via tendons. When your muscles contract, your bones act as a lever and your joints as a pivot point. This enables you to perform a wide range of activities such as lifting weight, cooking food, throwing an object, operating a computer, and so on.

(3) Bones protect our internal organs

Bones protect our vital organs. 

For example, 

– Our skull protects the brain 

– Our ribs protect the heart, lungs, and liver

(4) Blood cell regulation and maintenance

Our bone marrow synthesises blood components such as

– The RBC

– WBC and

– Platelets

This process is called hematopoiesis.

(5) Bones act as a place of storage 

Bones are a storage place for important minerals in your body, such as calcium and phosphorus.

These minerals are needed for various functions in our body, such as building strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, regulating heartbeat, and so on.

Bones are also a storage place for some fat tissue in yellow marrow within the bones. When we lack energy, these fat cells can be broken down to provide us with energy.

What are the 5 types of bones?

bone function and structure

There are basically five main types of bones. They are

(1) Long bones

It includes

– The femur (thigh bones)

– Tibia (shin bone)

– Fibula (calf bone on the lateral side of the tibia)

– Humerus (the long bone in the arm that runs from shoulder to elbow)

– Radius (Long bone in the lower arm)

– Ulna (Long bone in the lower arm on the lateral side of the radius)

– Metacarpals (Bones in your hands)

– Metatarsals (bones in your feet)

– Phalanges (finger bones)

Due to its compactness, the function of long bones is to provide support to your body and facilitate movements.

(2) Short bones

These bones are somewhat cubical in shape and are less compact. They are found in 

– Tarsals (bones in the ankles)

– Carpals (Bones in your wrist)

The function of these bones is to provide stability to the wrist and ankles and also to facilitate some movements.

(3) Flat bones

These bones are flat and have a curved and broad surface. It includes

– Ribs

– Shoulder blades

– Breast bones and 

– Skull

The function of these bones is often to protect your vital internal organs such as your brain, heart, or lungs.

(4) Irregular bones

These bones are irregularly shaped. Examples are

– Vertebrae or the spinal cord bones

– Pelvic bones and 

– The bones in your face

The function of these bones, like the flat bones, is to protect various parts of your body, such as the spinal cord.

(5) Sesamoid bones

These bones are small and round in shape and embedded within the tendons. Examples include

– Patella (knee cap)

– Tibial sesamoid (small bone in the feet)

– Fibular sesamoid (small bone in the feet)

The function of these bones is to protect tendons from injuries.

Overall there are 206 bones in your body, including bones of the skull, spine, chest, arms, hands, pelvis, legs, and feet.

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What are the types of bone tissue?

Your bones are made up of the following four tissues. They are

(1) Periosteum: It is the dense and tough outer layer that contains nerves and blood vessels.

(2) Compact bone tissue: It is the dense and hard tissue layer that protects the inner tissues.

(3) Spongy bone tissue: It is also called the cancellous tissue. It is porous in nature, like a honeycomb structure that allows bones to be light yet strong.

(4) Bone marrow: It is the innermost and jellylike substance found in the inner cavity of the bone (filling up the interior of the bone) that produces blood and certain fat cells.

What are the different types of bone cells?

There are primarily four different types of bone cells. They are

(1) Mesenchymal stem cells: These basically are stem cells. These cells have a unique ability to transform into any cell type in the body, from liver cells to heart cells, including osteoblast cells.

(2) Osteoblasts: These basically are specialised mesenchymal stem cells. They work to deposit collagen and minerals to form strong bones. They basically make bones.

what is bone marrow function

(3) Osteocytes: These cells help maintain mature bone tissues. They also help in regulating the calcium and phosphate concentrations in the bone.

(4) Osteoclasts: These are large bone cells that secrete a number of enzymes and chemicals and play an important role in releasing minerals and other molecules stored in bones. For example, these cells help release calcium from the bones to maintain homeostasis within the body. They also help in repairing the minor wear and tear that happens daily.

Read a complete guide on Vitamin D deficiency: Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, Treatment, and More.

Conclusion

Your bones do much more than provide support to your body. They help

– Facilitate movements

– Protect your internal organs

– Develop blood components and certain fat cells

– Regulate calcium and phosphorus levels in your body and

– May also provide stem cells for internal organ repair

Are you looking to seek treatment for your bones, joints, ligaments, and tendons? Perhaps you are looking to seek treatment for your child or an elderly parent. Consult one of our orthopaedic doctors available online

At MFine, we provide affordable doctor consultations over chat or video calls. Using the MFine app, you can also book a lab test online, all from the comfort of your home. We also do provide at-home sample collection. 

Using the MFine app, you could also order medicines online.

Download the MFine app now! 

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Reference:

  • https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/anatomy-of-the-bone#:~:text=What%20are%20the%20functions%20of,and%20storage%20of%20blood%20cells.
  • https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/what-are-five-functions-bones
  • https://www.healthline.com/health/bone-health/bone-function
  • https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320444
  • https://www.cliffsnotes.com/study-guides/anatomy-and-physiology/bones-and-skeletal-tissues/functions-of-bones
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6429025/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4515490/
  • https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/bones-muscles-joints.html
  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/12254-musculoskeletal-system-normal-structure–function

 

Dr. Sreelekha Daruvuri, MBBS with 5+ yrs of experience working as a Primary care Physician on MFine. She initially worked with corporate hospitals and then as a resident in JIPMER for 2 years. She believes in a holistic approach to health care. She is also a public speaker, a blog writer and holds an interest in spreading awareness on health through digital media.

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