Merck Manual

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Introduction to the Biology of Muscles and Bones

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision May 2020
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What are muscles and bones?

Muscles and bones give your body form and structure and allow you to move around. They are part of your musculoskeletal system, which consists of:

  • Bones: Your skeleton

  • Muscles: Tissue that contracts to move parts of your body

  • Joints: Places where two bones meet

  • Cartilage: Smooth, rubbery tissue that lines the inside of joints to reduce friction

  • Tendons: Tough ropes of tissue that connect your muscles to your bones

  • Ligaments: Tough bands of tissue that hold joints together

Your body has hundreds of different muscles and bones. Some are very large, such as the large muscles and bone in your thigh. Others are very small, such as the muscles and bones in your fingers.

Tendons and ligaments are called connective tissue because they connect parts of your body together.

Musculoskeletal System (1)

Musculoskeletal System (1)

Musculoskeletal System (2)

Musculoskeletal System (2)

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