Walking, jumping, typing, wiggling our toes, bending, pointing, drawing, sitting, sleeping—what do these and virtually all activities have in common? They require our bones and joints to work together. The world acknowledged the importance of healthy joints with World Arthritis Day on October 12, and healthy bones will be the focus on World Spine Day on October 16 and World Osteoporosis Day on October 20.
Our bones and joints truly make great teammates. Did you know:1
- The adult human body has 206 bones, with 26 of them in the foot and 54 of them in the hand, including the wrist.
- The femur, or thighbone, is the longest and strongest bone of the human skeleton. In contrast, the smallest and lightest bone is located in the middle ear and called the stapes.
- The hyoid is a V-shaped bone located at the base of the tongue. It’s the only bone in the human body that is not connected to another!
- Bones are composed of calcium, phosphorus, sodium and other minerals, as well as the protein collagen. Making up the skeleton of the body, bones protect organs as well as produce red and white blood cells.
- The place where two bones meet or connect are joints, which are formed by short bands of tough fibrous connective tissue known as ligaments.
- Some joints move and others don’t. For example, joints in the skull do not move, while synovial joints do. Synovial joints are located mostly in our arms and legs.
- Hip and shoulder joints are the most mobile and known as ball and socket joints. They enable our arms and legs to move in multiple directions.
- Ellipsoidal joints allow our fingers to bend and stretch; hinge joints enable knees and elbows to move; gliding joints work in the ankles and wrists by gliding against each other.
The more we practice Active Wellness, the healthier our bones and joints are and the longer they’ll last. Consistent physical activity, a balanced diet and getting plenty of sleep will help us stay healthy and keep our bones and joints working together our entire lives.