Skeletal system – Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Kenhub

Yeeaahh!! Kenhub is in da house. Yo’ foot bones connected to yo’ ankle
bone. Yo’ ankle bones connected to yo’ leg bone. Yo’ leg bones connected to yo’ thigh bone. Yo’, that’s some serious shii—-. Ever feel like getting down to the bones of
anatomical terminology is harder than you originally thought? Like literally? Who knew just talking about the bones of the
human body could be so overwhelming. So often we find ourselves caught in a standstill
dealing with overly complicated tongue-twisting medical terminology, right? Well, we’re putting an end to all of that
as we tackle the third episode of the Kenhub series on Anatomical Terminology for Healthcare
Professionals – the humorous side of skeletal terminology. So if you watched the previous episode of
this series, you will remember that most anatomical terms in medical practice are formed using
two or three main word parts or components – a root which is the main subject of the
term, a suffix which often gives context to the root, and a prefix which is used to give
additional information about the term. We also said that mastering anatomical terminology
is not about memorizing your anatomical dictionary, but rather about learning and memorizing these
different roots, prefixes, and suffixes. Collectively, they will help you decipher
almost any term regardless of where you come across it. So, as we mentioned, today, we are going to
look at a whole lot of word elements which are directly related to the skeletal system. We’ll also be learning quite a few commonly
used clinical prefixes and suffixes which can be paired with them. So, if you’re able, try your best to take
note of all parts of the terms we encounter today. You can also test yourself later by making
simple flashcards of different terms. Just add the word element on the front and
the explanation on the back. Register for free with and make
your flashcards even more effective by adding some of our awesome anatomical illustrations
found in our atlas. So let’s get to it and delve into the anatomical
terminology of the skeletal system. Of course, it goes without saying that each
bone of the body didn’t get their names from thin air. More often than not, the name of a bone generally
describes either its appearance or location in your body, and pretty much every bone named
can be used to help form other terms in clinical practice. For example, we can have the prefix or root
word ‘sterno-’ which would be something related to the sternum such as sternoschisis,
referring to a congenital cleft or division of the sternum. The same can be said for parts of a particular
bone. For example, ‘gleno-’ relates to the glenoid
cavity of the shoulder joint; or ‘condylo-’ is connected to the round articular condyles
of some of the long bones – for example condylitis refers to inflammation of the condyles
in a particular bone. As there are over 200 bones, I could probably
spend the next six or seven hours giving you examples of terms for every bone and bone
part, but luckily you, I’m far too nice to subject you to that kind of torture. What I would rather do today is give you some
prefixes or root words which might not be so obvious if you come across them in a clinical
practice – terms which don’t resemble the given names for any bone or joint of the human
skeleton. Of course, most of them stem from the eternal
anatomical tug-of-war between Greek and Latin terminology. Well, let’s see what we can find of interest
here. So, first up, we had the prefix ‘mento-’,
and before you ask – no, this has nothing to do with a popular lozenge which leaves
your breath minty fresh – it actually relates to your chin. For instance, we have a procedure known as
mentoplasty, which is a surgical augmentation or reduction of the chin. Or how about ‘omo-’ which refers to the
shoulder such as omodynia or pain of the shoulder. Another one is ‘cleido-’ which refers
to the clavicle or collarbone, but you actually know this one already if you think about it
– sternocleidomastoid – you know, that muscle which reaches from the sternum and
clavicle to the mastoid process. Of course, we also have the term ‘clavi-’;
as an example, clavipectoral, but it’s important then we’re aware of both. For example, we have a procedure known as
cleidotomy which involves a surgical division of the clavicle. Some other skeletal-related terms worth mentioning
include ‘chiro-’ or cheiro-’ which is a term referring to the hands. For example, a chiroplasty is a surgical procedure
performed to restore an injured or congenitally-deformed hand to normal use. ‘Dactyl-’ or with an O which comes from
the Greek term ‘daktylos’ which means digit or finger. For example, the condition dactylomegaly,
an enlargement of one or more digits. You might even be more familiar with this
term when it appears as a suffix ‘–dactyly’, such as syndactyly – a congenital disorder
resulting in the fusion of two or more digits. ‘Spondylo-’ is another unusual term which
actually comes from the Greek term ‘spondylus’ which is equivalent to vertebra. So, you guessed it – terms which contain
the prefix spondylo- have something to do with the vertebral column. A common condition with this term would be
ankylosing spondylitis which is a form of rheumatoid arthritis which affects the joints
and ligaments of the spine. ‘Rachi-’ is another term which has a similar
meaning as in rachialgia – pain of the vertebral column. You’ll remember I said ‘spondylus’ was
the Greek for vertebra. Well, ‘rhachis’ is the Greek term for
spine. The next term is one you’re probably aware
of. The word element here is ‘costo-’ or costal
meaning of the ribs. I’ll give you the examples, intercostal meaning
between the ribs or costotome which is a special type of instrument designed for cutting through
a rib. Next up is ‘coxo-’ or ‘coxa-’ which
refers to the hip joint. Coxamagna is a condition involving enlargement
of the femoral head. Moving distally, there is also a term for
the knee joint which you should know and this is ‘genu-’ as in knee joint. For example, you might ask a patient to assume
a genucubital position in which they rest on their knees and elbows when preparing for
anorectal examination. How about this term? ‘Crur-’ or ‘crural-’ which can be
a bit tricky to wrap your tongue around it, right? It refers to something related to either the
lower limb or sometimes specifically the anatomical leg – meaning the region between the knee
and the ankle joints. For example, we have the talocrural joint
which is the anatomical name for the superior part of the ankle joint formed by the bones
of the leg and talus bone of the foot. Moving just a little more distal along the
lower limb, our next term is ‘podo-’ which is yet another Greek term that is equivalent
to the more common Latin root ‘pedi-’ which means, that’s right, foot. Perhaps, we have an aspiring podiatrist in
our midst today. Now, let’s move on from terms related to the
bones of the human body and take a look at some more general terms which focus more on
the different tissues and articulations of the skeletal system. The first prefix, of course, has to be ‘osteo-’. If you learn your anatomy using Latin terminology,
you’ll be more than familiar with the term os which means bone, such as os ethmoidale
or the ethmoid bone. ‘Osteo-’, therefore, is a prefix which
is unsurprisingly widely used in relation to bone or bone tissue. For example, we are now studying osteology
– the scientific study of bones which is studied by osteologists. Osteogenesis describes the development of
bone tissue. Osteoblasts is a specialized bone cell which
produces premature bone tissue known as osteoid. Osteoclast, a different type of cell, which
breaks down bone tissue when damaged. Our next prefix is ‘chondro-’ which you
might be already familiar with. It refers to cartilage. For example, we have chondrocostal, which
refers to a structure or region pertaining to the ribs and costal cartilages; or chondromalacia,
an abnormal softening of the cartilage. Next one is ‘synov-’ or a synov with an
i at the end. This one you’ve also probably heard of in
relation to synovial fluid or synovial joints. Absent or insufficient production of synovial
fluid is what we called asynovia. And, finally, last but not least, we have
‘arthro-’ which is a prefix referring to a joint such as in arthrology which is
the study of joints, or arthrodysplasia, a congenital defect of joint development. Now before we wrap up this tutorial, there
is one last group of terms which I want to introduce you to. Despite the varying shapes and sizes of bones,
one thing they have in common is the fact most of them bear some kind of projections
and also depressions, which serve as landmarks to their surface anatomy. Let’s quickly check out some of the most
common terms which you might come across when studying skeletal anatomy. Let’s begin first with some terms for projections. A process is one of the most common types
of bony projection; for example, the coracoid process of the scapula. Eminence, which is also a type of bony projection,
but generally less prominent than a process; the intercondylar eminence of the tibia, for
example. Another type of projection is a tuberosity
– a large generally rounded eminence which sometimes marks the site of tendon or ligament
attachment; an example being the radial tuberosity. A tubercle is a similar kind of landmark. What’s the difference between a tuberosity
and a tubercle, you ask? Well, to be honest, not much. Both have a similar appearance, however, tubercles
tend to be slightly smaller than tuberosities, but it’s not really a hard or fast rule. Our next term of interest is condyle, which
is a round articular process such as the medial condyle of the femur. They are often flanked by nonarticular processes
known as epicondyles. A totally different type of projection from
this is a spine, which is a long thin process such as the spinous processes of the vertebrae. And, finally, we have ridges, crests, and
lines, all of which are forms of raised linear elevations. The best known of these is undoubtedly the
linea aspera of the femur. Turning things around, let’s now quickly review
some of the more common types of depressions which define the surface anatomy of many bones,
and without doubt, the most common of these terms is the fossa which can be characterized
as a broad and generally shallow depression of bone. Let’s use the olecranon fossa of the humerus
as an example here. Slightly smaller than a fossa is what’s known
as a fovea such as the transverse costal fovea of the thoracic vertebrae. These often are sites of articulation with
other bone. Next up are two similar terms which are groove
and sulcus. As the first name suggests, these describe
long pits or furrows in the surface of a bone such as the intertubercular sulcus or groove
of the humerus. The next term describes a depression which
pierces right through a bone and it’s known as a foramen. It usually gives passage for blood vessels
or nerves; for example, the infraorbital foramen of the maxilla. Similar to a foramen is a canal or meatus,
both of which describe a tunnel-like structure within a bone; for example, the external acoustic
meatus which connects the middle and outer ear. And, finally, one last term which you can’t
actually see from the surface of a bone. I’m talking about a sinus, which is a cavity
or hollow located within a bone itself; for example, the maxillary sinus. Well, I don’t know about you, but I think
we have covered a whole lot of ground in learning about the anatomical and medical terminologies
related to the skeletal system. I hope you feel more empowered to tackle these
terms. Remember, the key here is about building up
your inventory of word elements, the roots, prefixes, or suffixes as opposed to learning
terms as a whole. Like I mentioned earlier, one way to master
this is to create a library of flashcards as you work through the series. So remember to register with Kenhub and grab
some free atlas illustrations and articles to maximize your success. As we wrap up this video tutorial now, let’s
set ourselves a little challenge to see how we’ve done today. How about you take a shot at figuring out
the meaning of these bone-related conditions and procedures which are based on some of
the word elements we’ve learned about today. Let us know your answers in the comments below. Don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube
channel for more videos. And that’s a wrap for this installment of
our series of medical terminology for healthcare professionals. We’ll see you next time when we will be
looking at some terminology related to the muscular system. So if you are into fitness, working out, or
physical therapy, this will be the video for you. See you next time.


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