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The Skeletal System

Axial Skeleton

Forms the central supporting axis of the body; skull, auditary ossicles, hyoid bone, vertebral column and thoracic cage (ribs and sternum)

Appendicular Skeleton

Includes the bones of the upper limb and pectoral girdle along with the bones of the lower limb and pelvic girdle


Total number of bones in a typical adult skeleton

Sesamoid Bones

Bones that form within tendons in response to stress (i.e. patella)

Sutural (Wormian) Bones

Extra bones that develop in skull suture lines

Sternoclavicular Joint

Joint between the clavicle and the sternum

Acromioclavicular Joint

Joint between the clavicle and the scapula

Glenohumeral Joint

Joint between the scapula and the humerus (shoulder)


Plate-like extension of the spine on the scapula; forms apex of the shoulder, articulates with the clavicle - sole point of attachment of the scapula and the upper limb to the rest of the skeleton

Coracoid Process

Process on the scapula that provides attachment for tendons of the biceps brachii and other arm muscles; shaped like a bent finger

Glenoid Cavity

Shallow socket of the scapula that articulates with the head of the humerus to form the glenohumeral joint


Part of the humerus that articulates with the notch of the same name in the ulna

Olecranon Fossa

Part of the humerus that holds the process of the same name on the ulna

Carpal Bones

8 total;
Proximal Row: Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrium, Pisiform
Distal Row: Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate

Scaphoid, Lunate, Triquetrium, Pisiform

Proximal Row of Carpal Bones

Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate

Distal Row of Carpal Bones

5 Metacarpals, 14 Phalanges

Bones of the Manus


Bones of the Palm


Bones of the fingers and toes


Thumb, Metacarpal 1

Interosseous Membrane

Ligament that attaches the radius to the ulna and the tibia to the fibula

Coxal Bones, Ossa Coxae, Innominate Bones

3 Names for the Hip Bones

2 Coxal Bones, Sacrum, Coccyx

4 Bones of the Pelvic Girdle

Sacroiliac Joint

Joint where the os coxae is joined to the vertebral column

Pubic Symphysis

Formed where the pubic bones are joined by a pad of fibrocartilage anteriorly

Iliac Crest

Superior crest of the hip


Hip socket

Obturator Foramen

Large hole below the acetabulum


Upper area of the hip bone


Most anterior portion of the hip bone


Posterior portion of the hip bone that bears weight

Femur, Tibia

2 Weight-Bearing Bones of the Leg


Slender, lateral strut that stabilizes that ankle and does not bear any body weight

Tarsal Bones

7 Total;
Proximal Row: Calcaneous, Talus, Navicular
Distal Row: Cuboid, Medial Cuneiform, Intermediate Cuneiform, Lateral Cuneiform

5 Metatarsals, 14 Phalanges

Bones of the Foot


Big (Great) Toe, Metatarsal 1

Absorb Stress

Purpose of foot arches

7 Cervical,12 Thoracic, 5 Lumbar, 5 Fused Sacral, 4 Fused Coccygeal

5 Vertebral Groups and # of Each

Cervical, Thoracic, Lumbar, Pelvic

4 Vertebral Curvatures

Pelvic, Thoracic

2 Vertebral Curvatures Present at Birth

Cervical, Lumbar

2 Vertebral Curvatures Developed Over Time


Abnormal lateral curvature

Kyphosis (Hunchback)

Exaggerated thoracic curvature (osteoporosis)

Lordosis (Swayback)

Exaggerated lumbar curvature (pregnancy, obesity)

Intervertebral Foramen

Notches between adjacent vertebrae that provide a passageway for nerves

Intervertebral Discs

Bind vertebrae together and absorb shock


Forked spinous process in C2 to C6


C1 Vertebrae; Allows for nodding of the head


C2 Vertebrae; Allows for shaking of the head

Dens (Odontoid) Process

Held in place inside the vertebral foramen of the atlas by ligaments (allows for shaking of the head)

Thoracic Vertebrae

Feature a spinous process that is pointed and angled downward

Costal Facets

Found on thoracic vertebral body and at ends of transverse processes for articulation of ribs

Lumbar Vertebrae

Feature a thick, stout body and blunt, squarish spinous process

Manubrium, Body (Gladiolus), Xiphoid Process

3 Regions of the Sternum

Xiphoid Process

Inferior end of sternum that can break and puncture the liver during improper chest compressions

True Ribs

Ribs 1 - 7; Attach directly to the sternum with hyaline cartilage

False Ribs

Ribs 8 - 12; Do not directly attach to the sternum

Floating Ribs

Ribs 11 - 12; Do not attach to the sternum at all

Paranasal Sinuses

Air-filled cavities lined by a mucous membrane that lighten the skull and act as chambers that add resonance to voice


Shallow, broad, or elongated basin


Rounded knob that articulates with another bone


Hole through a bone, usually round

Frontal, Parietal (2), Temporal (2), Occipital, Sphenoid, Ethmoid

8 Cranial Bones

Maxillae (2), Palatine (2), Zygomatic (2), Lacrimal (2), Nasal (2), Inferior Nasal Conchae (2), Vomer, Mandible

14 Facial Bones

Calcaneous, Talus, Navicular

Proximal Row of Tarsal Bones

Cuboid, Medial Cuneiform, Intermediate Cuneiform, Lateral Cuneiform

Distal Row of Tarsal Bones

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