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long, short, flat, irregular

The four basic shapes of bone are

Long bones

are those that are longer than they are wide. Nearly all bones in the limbs are this shape.


The ends of the long bones are called


shaft of long bones is called the

Short bones

are cube-shaped. Many of the bones in the feet are this shape.

Flat bones

are thin and flat with cancellous bone between two thin plates of compact bone.

Irregular bones

are simply those whose shapes don't fit any of the previous categories or have characteristics of more than one of the shape categories. An example is the patella bone that makes up the kneecap.

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