5 Functions of the Skeletal System

The typical human skeleton includes 206 bones in adults. More bones are present at birth, which gradually fuse together as the body develops. The skeleton is divided into two parts. The axial skeleton consists of the bones of the skull, face and spine together with the ribs and breastbone. The appendicular skeleton includes the bones of the arms, hands, legs, feet and hips in addition to the clavicles and shoulder blades. The skeleton serves numerous vital functions.

What Are the Functions of the Human Skeletal System?

Bone, or osseous tissue, is a hard, dense connective tissue that forms most of the adult skeleton, the support structure of the body. In the areas of the skeleton where bones move (for instance, the ribcage and joints), cartilage, a semi-rigid type of connective tissue, supplies versatility and smooth surface areas for motion. The skeletal system is the body system composed of bones and cartilage and carries out the following vital functions for the human body:

  • supports the body
  • assists in motion
  • secures internal organs
  • produces blood cells
  • stores¬†and releases minerals and fat
Human Skeletal System

Picture of Human Skeletal System with Bone Names


The skeleton offers the body its shape, which changes with growth. In addition to identifying attributes such as height and the size of the hands and feet, steady body shape enables necessary functions. For instance, a steady rib cage and spine enable the lungs to completely inflate when breathing. Conditions such as osteoporosis of the spine and broken ribs can alter the shape of the chest and hinder this essential body function.


Along with the muscular system, the skeleton supplies support to the body and keeps the internal organs in their correct place. The strong bones of the spinal column, pelvis and legs enable people to stand upright, supporting the weight of the entire body. Body cavities– hollow areas framed by the skeleton– hold the internal organs. For example, the skull holds the brain, the chest cavity houses the heart and lungs, and the abdominal cavity encases the organs of the digestive, urinary and internal reproductive systems.


The skeletal bones are held together by ligaments, and tendons attach the muscles to the bones of the skeleton. The muscular and skeletal systems work together as the musculoskeletal system, which allows body movement and stability. When muscles agreement, they pull on bones of the skeleton to produce movement or hold the bones in a steady position. The shape of the bones and how they mesh at the joints permits different types of motion. For example, the leg bones come together at the knee to form a hinge joint that allows the knee to bend back and forth. The signing up with portions of the bones of the hip and shoulder have a much various shape and type ball-and-socket joints that enable motion in multiple directions.


The skeleton safeguards the internal organs from damage by surrounding them with bone. Bone is living tissue that is hard and strong, yet somewhat flexible to withstand breaking. The strength of bone comes from its mineral content, which is mostly calcium and phosphorus. The flexibility is because of a substance called collagen. The combination of strength and flexibility gives the skeleton the capacity to absorb the effect of blows to the body without breaking. Examples of important securing bones of the skeleton include the skull, spinal column and rib cage, which secure the brain, spinal cord, and heart and lungs.

Blood Cell Production

Bigger bones consist of bone marrow, a spongy tissue inside the bones. There are two main types of marrow, red and yellow. Red marrow is responsible for production of all the body’s red blood cells and much of its white blood cells. Red cell are produced at a typical rate of roughly 200 million per day. These cells carry life-sustaining oxygen to the body tissues. In adults, red marrow is discovered primarily in the breastbone, hips, ribs, skull, spine bones and at the end of long bones of the limbs. Several types of white blood cells, which protect the body from infections, are likewise produced in red bone marrow. Yellow bone marrow includes primary fat cells however can transform into red marrow if the body needs to increase blood cell production, such as if anemia develops.



Updated: September 20, 2016 — 11:29 am

The Author

Reyus Mammadli

Healthy lifestyle advisor. Bachelor Degree of Medical Equipment and Electronics.
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