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Introduction to the Biology of the Musculoskeletal System

By Alexandra Villa-Forte, MD, MPH, Cleveland Clinic

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The musculoskeletal system provides form, stability, and movement to the human body. It consists of the body's bones (which make up the skeleton—see Bones), muscles (see Muscles), tendons (see Tendons and Bursae), ligaments (see Ligaments), joints (see Joints), cartilage, and other connective tissue. The term "connective tissue" is used to describe the tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together. Its chief components are collagen and elastic fibers, which are composed of different proteins.

The musculoskeletal system undergoes many changes as people age (see Effects of Aging on the Musculoskeletal System).

Musculoskeletal System

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