If they’re in good working order, we don’t tend to think of our bones very often. They’re such a fundamental part of us that we’re dismissive. Yes, it’s the internal skeleton that holds up what would otherwise be an undignified sack of muscle and fat - but unless you break a bone, you have the luxury of forgetting about them.
Nevertheless… bones are important. They protect vital organs and, if we don’t take the care to look after them, then we can find our lives severely contracted. So why not bone up (a pun so good it’s worth making twice? Perhaps not…) on your bone knowledge and make sure you’re keeping your skeleton smiling.
1. Your Skeleton Isn’t Responsible For Your Smile
Just to clear up that little throwaway statement at the end of the sentence, there. And now onto the real stuff…
2. There are 206 bones in the human body.
That’s a lot of bones - and the largest amount are in the hands (54) and feet (52). That’s not surprising, given our hands are arguably the single most important evolutionary change in human history.
3. The femur is the strongest bone in the human body.
The femur - the thigh bone - is the strongest in the human body, and it’s also the thickest. If you hear someone has fractured their femur, then they’re going to have gone through a severe accident to do it.
4. The clavicles are the most commonly fractured bone.
The clavicles - the collarbones - are both relatively weak and in a prominent position, so it’s no surprise they take the worst damage in the event of an accident.
5. There’s no difference between a fracture and a break; but there are different types of fracture.
The terms “fractured bone” and “broken bone” are interchangeable. Fracture is the term most commonly used in the medical profession, but it means the same thing. However, fractures do come in different forms. A hairline fracture shows a break on an X-Ray; whereas a compound fracture is when bone breaks through the skin. Which is a lovely thought. Gulp.
6. Bone density decreases as we age.
As with most things related to human health, your bones begin to weaken as you age. This can lead to easily-sustained fractures, as well as the hip replacements that are so commonplace in old age. There are several things you can to do counter the loss of density, from weight-bearing exercises to calcium supplements such as AlgaeCal, which can help keep your bones in tip-top condition.
7. Hormone therapy may weaken bones prematurely.
There is scientific evidence which suggests hormone therapy may cause premature loss of bone density. This includes use of the contraceptive pill (and the other forms of hormonal contraceptive, such as the implant) and Hormone Replacement Therapy for postmenopausal women. The benefits to your health from these medications tends to outweigh the risks, but if you use them, pay particular care to doing all you can to aid your bone density.