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Skeletal System Problems and Diseases

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Skeletal System Problems and Diseases

Do you think this would hurt? Why?

That would probably hurt. And hurt a lot. Broken bones, or fractures, may be one of the more common problems of the skeletal system. And this one would probably need surgery to fix. But, in addition to broken bones, there are other problems and diseases of the skeletal system.

Skeletal System Problems

Despite their hardness and strength, bones can suffer from injury and disease. Bone problems include fractures, osteoarthritis, and rickets.

  • Rickets is softening of the bones in children that occurs because bones do not have enough calcium. Rickets can lead to fractures and bowing of the leg bones, which is illustrated in the Figure below .

Child with rickets X-ray

The bones of a child with rickets are so soft that the weight of the body causes them to bend.

Summary

  • Skeletal system problems include fractures, osteoarthritis, and rickets.

Explore More

Use this resource to answer the questions that follow.

  1. What is peak bone mass?
  2. What is osteoporosis?
  3. List five risk factors for osteoporosis.
  4. Why is calcium important? Why is vitamin D important?
  5. How do people obtain calcium? Give four examples of foods rich in calcium.

Review

  1. Osteoporosis is a disease in which osteoclasts are more active than osteoblasts. How is this likely to affect the bones? Why would a person with osteoporosis have a greater-than-normal risk of bone fractures?

Vocabulary

osteoarthritis

osteoarthritis

A condition in which cartilage breaks down in joints due to wear and tear, causing joint stiffness and pain.
rickets

rickets

Softening of the bones in children; occurs because bones do not have enough calcium.
fracture

fracture

A break in bone, usually caused by excessive stress on bone.

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