The Skeletal System

The Skeletal System

The skeletal system is one of the most complex systems of the body. It is made up of bones, cartilage, tendons, ligaments and various other tissues. The human skeletal system is classified into axial and appendicular skeleton. The axial skeleton includes the skull, vertebral column, ribs, and the middle ear and hyoid bones. The appendicular skeleton consists of the limbs and pelvic system.

Axial Skeleton

The axial skeleton is the more critical skeletal system of the two.


Skull: The skull protects the brain, the most vital organ of the human body. Located in the head, the skull is made up of cranial and facial bones. The cranial bones are flat and fused, forming a protective “box” around the brain. The facial bones make up the eye sockets, jaws and other bones.

Vertebrae: The vertebral column, connected to the skull through a hole at the base is made up of vertebrae. These include seven cervical, twelve thoracic, five lumbar and five fused vertebrae. The vertebrae have holes at the posterior part, and are stacked in such a way that the holes form a tunnel in which the spinal cord is housed.

Ribs: The ribs are flat, curved bones that form a cage around the heart and lungs, protecting them from injuries. There are a total of 24 ribs in body, present in pairs. The first seven pairs fuse with the sternum, or breastbone, in the front portion of the chest. The last two pairs are floating ribs.

Appendicular Skeleton

The appendicular skeleton is made of the pectoral and pelvic systems.

Pectoral: The pectoral system has two scapulae, or shoulder blades, two clavicles or collar bones, and the bones of the arms and hands. The arms are made of radius, ulna and humerus, while the carpals, metacarpals and phalanges make up the wrist, palm and fingers.

Pelvic: The pelvic system is made up of two hip bones and the leg and feet bones. Each hip bone is known as a coxa; and the coxa, sacrum and coccyx forms the pelvis. The bones of the leg are: femur (thigh bone), tibia and fibula. The foot is made of tarsals, metatarsals and phalanges.

Did you know that the largest bone in the body is the femur or the thigh bone and the smallest bones are the bones in the ear?

Understanding the Skeletal System is essential to understanding Chiropractic

Medical Professors' Opinions

Dr. David Klein
Seaside Chiropractic

5668 La Jolla Blvd.
La Jolla, California

Phone 858-459-3132

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