Bones support our bodies and protect what’s on the inside. From our rock-solid skulls to our tiniest toes, our skeletal system is simply fascinating. Bones form and change throughout our lifetimes, and even if they break, they can bond back together. They structure our shape and help us move, and without them, we’d probably be odd-looking amorphous blobs struggling to stand up.
There’s a world of information about our bones, but the fun stuff is always most entertaining. From top to bottom, our bodies are built on a framework that’s not only reliable but remarkable. Here’s the bottom line on bones, and the stats and surprises that make our skeletons so incredible.
Babies are born with more bones than adults. Sounds strange, plus, where do the “extras” go? See, as babies get older, some of the bones they’re born with fuse together. What starts as 300 winds up at 206. The softer cartilage hardens as we age, giving us a firmer form and less need for flexibility. Considering the limited space in the womb, it makes sense that babies are malleable, so to speak. Once we’re out and about, the “soft spots” and other attributes of babies’ bodies mature throughout childhood and into adulthood. While the count will remain at 206, this doesn’t mean the bones stay the same ‘till we’re senior citizens. Bones go through remodeling, where the older bones break down and new tissues form. From “bendable” too brittle, bones develop and deteriorate over our lifespans. So, do all you can to stay strong, from working out to counting on calcium.
Each bone is connected to another, except for one. The hyoid bone is the only one that’s on its own, making it unique in its placement and purpose. This V-shaped bone anchors the tongue and is located between the bottom jaw at the front of the neck. Without its involvement, we can only imagine how our tongues would be dangling and drooping. Not to mention, the hyoid helps with chewing and swallowing, even speaking.
Tooth or dare? PS: Teeth are NOT bones. They are similar, but don’t contain collagen-like bones do, nor can they produce red and white blood cells. That said, teeth are the hardest part of the body, especially useful when chewing something tough.
Ribs are required to protect our heart, lungs, and other organs, taking up real estate in the torso for a very important reason. Along with protecting vital organs, your ribs also support your skeleton and help you breathe. Most people have 24 ribs—12 per side, with two called “floating” since they connect solely to the spine, while the others connect to the sternum and such. Interesting, but it gets better. One in 200 folks has an extra rib, and we’re not talking the baby back kind from an Applebee’s appetizer. This “bonus” rib is called a cervical rib, located right above the collarbone. Some of these individuals live their lives similarly to the 199 others, but there can be issues that emerge such as pain, blood clots, or compromised blood vessels and nerves.
Nothing to sneeze at: A forceful sneeze can fracture a rib. No Kleenex could cure this conundrum.
Bones come in all shapes and sizes, which makes sense when comparing the differences in the parts of the body. The longest (and strongest) bone is the femur, located in the thigh, and the smallest bone is inside the middle ear, just 0.11 inches. Each femur’s length depends upon the person’s height and so forth. Big, small, or somewhere in the middle, all of our bones total wind up weighing about 12-15% of our body mass. Still, you can’t blame your bones on the extra pounds you’ve packed on over the holidays.
She’s got legs: Russia’s Ekaterina Lisina holds the title for the world’s longest legs. 52 inches long is astounding for the 6 ft. 8.77 in. tall model. She has a hard time finding shoes in her size, but she takes it all in stride.
Now that you’re up to speed on the best of bone trivia, let’s blow this joint!
If you think you’ve got a sprain, fracture, or broken bone, stop by your local vybe urgent care and be seen today.