Skeletal Diseases

skeleton-308674_1280Babies are born with approximately 270 bones, and as we grow, we end up having 206 bones that make our structure. These bones are connected to the network which includes tendons, muscles and joints also. They make our locomotor system allowing us to move. There are many diseases which can affect these structures, resulting in an inability to walk or to perform everyday tasks. It can be due to an injury, age, infections, tumors or any metabolic disease which can affect other systems also, but present in skeletal dysfunction. Here are some of the common skeletal diseases.


The disease which causes thinning of the bone structure and deterioration of the bone tissue result in brittle bones which are prone to fractures. It is more common in elderly women due to hormonal levels, where the estrogen drops and provokes the loss of the bone matter. The bone is lost faster than it is created. Besides being a female, other risk factors are age, race, genetics, thyroid hormones including other glands, low calcium, smoking and tobacco abuse. Symptoms can include back pain, tilt posture, loss of height over time, fractures. Prevention can be calcium and vitamin D intake. For the therapy, since it is not curable, patients usually get some painkillers.


Osteomalacia is a totally different disease from osteoporosis, where it is a mistake in the bone-building process while the osteoporosis causes the softening of an already formed bone matter. It can be a consequence of a vitamin D deficiency or low calcium levels. Other risk factors are celiac’s disease, kidney and liver problems and drug consumption. It may express in muscle weakness and bone pain. Mineral and vitamin D supplements are used in treating this disease.


It is called “wear and tear” disease which occurs mostly in elderly. There are some factors that can contribute to the appearance of this condition. These are genes, weight, injury, and overuse of the joints. It affects mostly hips, knees, spine and hands. There is no cure and it worsens over time when the friction between the bones loses its cushion that absorbed the pressure. Patients use drugs that can help with pain and stiffness, which are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen, acetaminophen, physical therapy and surgery.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It is a chronic inflammatory disease which affects the joints. The immune system plays a main role, where the antibodies mistakenly attack the synovium inside the joints and destroy the cartilage inside the capsule. The specific cause is not yet identified, but there are some connections with genetics, infections and other things that can trigger the event. It starts with tender joints and progresses with swelling and stiffness in the morning that can last for hours, the formation of rheumatoid nodules under the skin, fever and other symptoms that can result in general weakness and fatigue. There is no cure, and the therapy is there only to slow down the progress and help with the pain reduction. Patients consume painkillers and may get steroid injections to calm down the inflammation and reduce swelling.


Bursa is the cushion structure which serves as an absorbent for the pressure made between the muscles and tendons. It can get inflamed resulting in bursitis. It is common in the knee joint which is presented with swelling, tenderness and redness. Therapy includes rest, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and other over-the-counter painkillers.


Tendons are extensions of the muscle that attaches to the bone. They participate in the muscle contraction and movement. They can get inflamed also, usually caused by overuse or strained tendon from a sudden motion. It is advised to rest and apply ice padding on the inflamed area.


Bone tumors can be primary and metastatic, originating from other organ and spread to the bone structure. There is also a division into benign and malignant tumors. Benign tumors are more common in younger people. Some of them are osteochondroma, osteoblastoma, giant cell tumor,  osteoid osteoma and others. Metastatic tumors spread mostly from lungs, breasts, and prostate. The primary bone tumor is less frequent than metastatic. Some of the most common ones are osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma. There is also tumor of a bone marrow which is called multiple myeloma. They are mostly treated with medications, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and surgery.


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