Common Disorders of the Skeletal System

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  • 0:01 Introduction to Common…
  • 0:32 Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
  • 1:40 Osteoporosis/Bone Fractures
  • 3:10 Spine Deformities
  • 4:52 Cancers
  • 5:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Virginia Rawls

Virginia has a master' degree in Education and a bachelors in Sports Medicine/athletic Training

The skeletal system is a very important body system, and there are some common disorders that specifically affect it. Continue reading to learn about them, including their symptoms and treatment.

Introduction to Common Skeletal Disorders

Thank goodness we have bones in our bodies. Without them, we would just be huge puddles of skin on the floor. The skeletal system is a network of bones that provides our bodies with support, protection and the ability to move. Unfortunately, there are disorders of the skeletal system that can cause major bone deformities and hamper movement.

We are going to identify common skeletal disorders and briefly discuss them all.

Arthritis and Osteoarthritis

Arthritis is a condition that affects the joints in the body. Symptoms include pain, swelling and stiffness at the joint. As the disease progresses, it can lead to increased pain, inability to move the joint and permanent damage to the joint.

Osteoarthritis is a type of arthritis that affects the cartilage at the end of the bones. Over time, the cartilage can wear down, and in some instances, it can wear down to the point that it is completely gone. This leads to the bones touching and moving against each other. This can be very painful and lead to the joint losing its strength.

Both arthritis and osteoarthritis are more common in women and in elderly patients. They both can be debilitating if left untreated. Treatment for arthritis and osteoarthritis can be as simple as using cold and hot compresses, limiting use and taking over-the-counter medications for pain. In more severe cases, surgery may be needed to correct bone deformities and replace the affected joint.


Osteoporosis occurs when bones in your body are weak. This happens when your bones do not make enough bone tissue or do not contain enough bone tissue. Look at the picture:


It shows a comparison between healthy bone tissue and bone tissue affected by osteoporosis. Because they have weaker bones, patients with osteoporosis are more prone to bone fractures. It is more common in women and those over the age of 50.

Sadly, there really are not any symptoms to this disease. Breaking a bone while doing something that shouldn't cause a break is a common sign of osteoporosis. Also, multiple fractures in a row can also be a clue that a patient has weak bones.

Bone Fractures

Bone fractures are another common issue that affect the skeletal system. Bone fracture is the medical term for a broken bone. Any bone in your body has the potential to break depending on how much force you place on it. Bone fractures can occur in anyone at any age. Symptoms include pain, swelling and inability to move the joint near the fracture. In severe cases, you can see the bone sticking through the skin. To help a fracture heal, a cast is placed over it to keep the bone still. Healing time can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks.

Spine Deformities

Posture is your body's ability to hold itself up by using its bones and muscles. Posture can be evaluated both when you sit and stand, and your spine plays a major role in how good your posture is. There are three conditions of the spine that can hinder proper posture, and all three can be corrected. Correcting spinal deformities can be done with back braces, specific back exercises and in severe cases, surgery.


Kyphosis is a condition where the top of the spine curves outwards in the upper back area. It is also referred to as a 'hunchback' appearance. In children and teens, it can be caused by incorrect bone growth in the spine. In adults, it is commonly caused by osteoporosis.


Lordosis occurs when the bottom of the spine curves outward in the lower back. It is also referred to as a 'swayback' appearance. If you were to view a person with lordosis from the side, their back would look like the letter C. This condition can be seen in all ages, including children and teens. It can be caused by things such as obesity, incorrect bone growth and improper posture.

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