When you're born, you have about 300 bones. By the time you're a grownup, you've only got 206. The reason: As babies grow, some of their bones fuse together. Some infant bones are made entirely of soft, flexible tissue called cartilage that¡¯s slowly replaced by hard bone as the baby develops.

Don't let the name fool you. It's no laughing matter! If you¡¯ve ever hit your elbow in that certain spot, you know it can cause a weird tingling or a dull pain. Your funny bone isn¡¯t a bone at all. It¡¯s a nerve that runs down your upper arm to the inside part of your elbow.

They usually stop growing by the time you're a young adult, but they keep changing. As you age, bones lose density and get thinner and easier to break. You can help keep them healthy by getting plenty of calcium and vitamin D, and by doing exercises that keep you on your feet.

Bones have a few different jobs. They give our bodies structure and allow us to move. They protect our organs from damage -- your skull protects your brain and your ribs protect your heart, lungs, and liver. Your bones also make red blood cells, which carry proteins and oxygen to tissues, and white blood cells, which help fight infections.

It's also called the clavicle, and it leads the list of fractures. You can break it if you fall on your hand or arm or get hit in the shoulder. Breaks in the hands and arms are common as well, because you often use them when you try to stop a fall.

Let's put this old wives¡¯ tale to rest. The carbonation in sodas won¡¯t hurt your bones, but that doesn¡¯t mean drinking them is a good idea. Some studies show that the caffeine and phosphorus in colas can weaken them. If you want a drink that's good for your bones, go for milk or something with extra calcium, like fortified orange juice.

Remember a song called ¡°Dem Bones?¡± That old tune might have helped you remember that the leg bone is connected to the knee bone. But it sure didn¡¯t mention the hyoid, a U-shaped bone at the base of your tongue. It's the only bone that isn¡¯t connected to another one.

It's well known that cigarettes hurt your lungs, heart, and overall health. But they¡¯re also bad for your bones. Nicotine and other chemicals in them make it harder for your body to take in the calcium your bones need to stay strong. Cigarettes lower your vitamin D levels, too.

Most toes have three tiny bones, but your big toe only has two. You also have three bones in each of your fingers, but only two in each of your thumbs.

A tiny bone behind your eardrum is the smallest one in your body. It¡¯s called the stirrup, and it¡¯s only 2.5 to 3.3 mm long. That¡¯s not much bigger than a fruit fly. The longest and strongest bone is your femur, which goes from your pelvis to your knee.


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