Bone Growth

Written by Jenni Wiltz
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Many people believe that bone growth ends when you grow out of adolescence, but this is not true. Your bones are actually a connective tissue, with a much higher mineral content than other tissues, such as cartilage. Your bones are attachment places for muscle and tissue, and they form a protective cage for your internal organs.

When a baby is born, it starts out with many more bones than an adult. The bones are actually still cartilage when it is born, and will harden into bone as the baby ages. The process of cartilage fusing into bone is called ossification. The adult skeleton contains 206 bones, compared to the approximately 300 bone/cartilage components of a baby's skeleton.

The Process of Bone Growth
Bone growth does not occur from all sides and angles. Bones grow from the ends, where special concentrations of cartilage cells divide. When they divide, they push the existing cartilage cells down into the center of the bone where they eventually ossify from cartilage into bone. This growth usually ends during puberty.

Recent medical news has focused on the efficacy of a bone growth stimulator, a technique that uses electrical currents to stimulate bone growth. This technique is used expressly for the purpose of healing breaks and fractures. Bone density is another issue especially relevant for women with osteoporosis. Both of these issues will be discussed at length on a different page.

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