Simply Joints

For some reason, I had a very hard time coming up with a topic for this week.  I think I have blogger’s block.  Usually something happens in my life that inspires me.  This week, as always, a lot happened.  But, since I am not an expert on disrespectful children or parental rage and since I think I already covered dieting and memory loss, I was stumped.  My two favorite artists right now, as alphabetically unfortunate as it may be, are Adele and Zac Brown.  I am certain that I sprained something in my thumb from cycling back and forth between them on my iPod.  We’ve come a long way since we had to break the 45s out of their paper covers and manually set the needle, but there is still some room for improvement.  You have to earn the right to work at the Genius Bar … c’mon Apple!  Even my bank uses voice activation.  Anyway, as not sexy as joints are, swollen, splinted and casted joints are even less appealing.  So, this week, joint pain and injury.

Some Facts about your Joints

1.  The number of joints in the human body is up for debate but it probably lies somewhere between 200 – 350.  The discrepancy stems from the lack of agreement on exactly what constitutes a joint and the fact that the number of individual bones changes as you mature from a fetus to a child.  Also, when there is a connection between two bones that does not allow for any movement, should it still be considered a joint?  I guess medicine really is an inexact science.

2.  A joint can be defined as the area where two bones are attached for the purpose of motion.  Usually, it is made up of connective tissue and cartilage.  Other words for joints in the body are articulation and arthrosis.

3.  Joints can be organized based on the type of movement they allow or on the structures that form the connection.  For example, the bones of the vertebrae are connected by cartilage and allow a little mobility, while the bones of the knee and the elbow are not truly connected but are have a common synovial cavity that allows for a large amount of movement.

4.  Joints can be simple or complex.  For instance, the knee joint is made up of many structures, including four bones, two major muscles, two ligaments and meniscal cartilage.   Its complexity is part of what makes it so susceptible to injury.  The shoulder joint, in order to allow for such a wide range of motion is equally, if not more complex.  If you take a moment to consider the ways in which you can move your limbs, you will appreciate the true genius behind their architecture.

5.  Synovial fluid is a thick, clear fluid that lubricates the joints so that the bones and ligaments do not rub against each other.  More on synovial fluid tomorrow as we discuss normal age-related changes in the joints and arthritis.

I am going to cue up Adele’s 21 and get into a girl-power state of mind before I tackle the afternoon.  Then, I am going to ice my thumb and make lists of all the things I need to do but will likely never get around to.  Do you have any idea how hard it is going to be not to make marijuana references this week?

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