Joints, Bones and Muscles

Bones and Joints


Healthy joints, bones and muscles help you smile while walking, bending, reaching, running, dancing and even sleeping!  Your body moves easily with healthy joints, bones and muscles. A joint is a place where two bones meet. Your body has 206 bones and over 100 joints.  Joints usually provide space for you to move.  Are you enjoying walking, bending, running or even sleeping??  If everything is moving to their full potential then you must be feeling 100%!  If so, great!  If not – isn’t a good idea to find out why?

There are 3 types of joints, based on their anatomy, which can be classified into the following 3 types:

1. Fibrous Joints – connected by fibrous tissue or collagen.

2. Cartilaginous Joints – have only cartilage between the joints. Healthy cartilage is more flexible than  bone.  Cartilage allows some movement.  Cartilaginous joints occur between the ribs and the        breastplate or sternum, and between the backbones.  The cartilaginous substances between    segments of the backbone (vertebrae) are shaped like disks (and called disks). The cartilaginous    disks help support the weight of the back and allow flexibility. Sufficient healthy fluids in the  cartilaginous disks support approx. 70% of weight.

3. Synovial Joints – provide the widest range of motion of the three types of joints. There is a space    between the bones which is filled with a nourishing fluid, as described in more detail below.

A firm, gelatinous substance called cartilage cushions the ends of the bones in the joints. Articular cartilage covers the ends of the bones like upholstery fabric on a chair. You may have seen cartilage at the end of chicken leg bones?

Healthy cartilage has a smooth, slippery surface that allows two bones to glide easily in motion.  Because of the impact sustained by articular cartilage, there are no blood vessels in the cartilage to deliver moisture and its food, nor to remove its wastes. Instead, the cartilage receives its nourishment from fluid present around the joint.

Many joints have capsules filled with Synovial fluid.  A capsule surrounds the very flexible Synovial Joints. The capsule protects the joint from infection, provides nourishment, and supports it.  The joint capsule is lined with a several layers of cells forming a synovial membrane or synovium. This membrane is made up of synovial cells.  The synovial cells produce synovial fluid.  Healthy Synovial fluid is a clear fluid with an egg-like consistency, hence the name Synovial (means egg-like). This fluid fills any micro-cavities, and forms a thin layer between the surfaces of the articular cartilage, and fills the articular cartilage (like a wet sponge).  Synovial cells secrete hyaluronan and lubricin into the Synovial fluid.

Hyaluronan (hyaluronic acid) increases the viscosity of the articular cartilage so it’s dense and it increases the elasticity of the articular cartilage so that it can easily be compressed and bounce back to its original thickness.

Lubricin reduces friction during motion by the articular cartilage surfaces on the 2 moving bones (also called boundary layer lubrication). Lubricin appears to also help regulate growth of Synovial cells.

How cartilage picks up nourishment and gets rid of wastes

Do you exercise daily? Can you exercise daily?

When you’re resting and not moving the joint, your cartilage absorbs nourishment from the surrounding synovial fluid. Your joint also releases its wastes into the joint fluid. The synovial fluid is constantly being replaced—providing more nutrients and removing wastes.

Joint cartilage is often compared to a very dense car sponge.  Exchange of the liquid in the dense sponge with the surrounding fluid is slow without any movement. Weight-bearing exercise compresses or squeezes your cartilage of the relevant joints. The compressed or squeezed cartilage oozes out some of its fluid containing wastes. When you release the pressure, the joint soaks up fresh fluid.

JointsHow to keep your joints, bones and muscles healthy

Several HABITS help keep cartilage, joints, bones and muscles healthy.  EXERCISE helps speed up the exchange of used fluid in cartilage with nutrient- rich synovial fluid.  It also helps build bone density and muscle strength. Exercise helps keep your joints, bones and muscles healthy. It’s never fun to try to exercise in pain or when something somewhere just doesn’t move/feel right.  Don’t put off problems until they get unmanageable. The sooner you act, the more likely a speedy recovery!

It is also important to drink sufficient water and have sufficient trace minerals to maintain healthy hydration of your cartilage, joints, bones and muscles.  Cartilage and bones need certain nutrients or building blocks to stay healthy.  Eating foods that deliver sufficient nutrients help maintain healthy joints, bones and muscles.

Are all your joints moving to their full potential?

Have you lost some movement in the last year, two years etc.? Aches or pains niggling at you? Restoring movement can impact on your daily energy, self-esteem and pain levels.  This blog was created to educate, not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or precondition. However, it is often observed that patients who take a major interest in their condition, learn as much as they can about their condition and potential treatments – often improve faster than those who don’t.

Patrick McCarrick MISCP


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