The organs of the skeletal system include the bones, ligaments, tendons, and cartilage. Bones provide the framework of the body, promote mobility, and serve as protection for other organs of the body. Ligaments are fibrous tissues that connect one bone to another, thus forming a joint that allows for greater range of motion. Tendons are also composed of fibrous tissue and serve to connect muscles to the bones. Cartilage is a type of flexible connective tissue that protects the bones and helps to form body parts such as the ears and nose.
The bones are the chief organs of the skeletal system and provide the entire framework of the body. The adult skeleton is composed of 206 bones that work together to protect the various organs of the body and provide a type of scaffold to which muscles and other supportive tissues attach themselves. Human bones contain a substance known as marrow that is responsible for the production of red blood cells.
Ligaments are important organs of the skeletal system and attach the bones of the skeleton to one another in order to allow for movement. Made from flexible collagen fibers, the ligaments form joints that aid in the movement of body parts such as the fingers, elbows, and hips. If the ligaments stretch further than is considered normal, the affected person is said to be double-jointed.
Similar in nature to the ligaments, the organs of the skeletal system known as tendons are responsible for connecting muscles to the bones. When a muscle contracts, or tightens, the tendons pull on the attached bones in order to allow movements such as walking or running. Tendons are able to stretch more than ligaments, allowing for wider ranges of motion but also resulting in an increased risk of injury. Tendinitis is a medical term used to describe inflammation of the tendons, a condition that causes pain and a decreased ability to move the affected area of the body.
Cartilage is often overlooked as being among the organs of the skeletal system, although it serves important functions in regard to the formation of the skeleton. This flexible connective tissue is responsible for maintaining the shape of the nose and ears and is also found in other areas of the body. Situated between the bones, cartilage offers protection from friction and repetitive movements. Damage to the cartilage can cause pain or swelling and often results in the need for operations such as knee replacement surgery.