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    Bone Up on Your Joints

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    The largest joint in your body is your hip.

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    The largest joint in your body is your hip.

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    Your knees get the prize for largest joints. They're also the most complex joints in your body. Three bones -- your thighbone, your shinbone, and your kneecap -- meet to form them. They’re held together by strong ropes called ligaments.

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    Your joints pass gas.

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    Your joints pass gas.

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    Noisy knees? Fingers that crack or pop? You may not need to excuse yourself, but that racket you're making may be your joints letting out gas. It escapes from liquid that helps keep your joints moving. But more serious things can make your joints sound off, too. Make sure to call a doctor if your noisy joints hurt and are swollen.

    Every joint in your body helps you move.

    Every joint in your body helps you move.

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    You couldn’t swing a tennis racket, run a mile, or even eat a slice of pizza without your joints. But not all of them help you do things. The joints in your skull are fixed in place to protect your brain. The same kind of joints holds your teeth in your jawbone.  

    If you're double-jointed, you have extra joints.

    If you're double-jointed, you have extra joints.

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    If you can bend, twist, or fold your fingers or arms in odd ways, you may be double-jointed. You have the same number of joints as everyone else, yours are just more flexible. This tends to run in families and can come in handy if you’re a gymnast, ballet dancer, or musician.

    How many joints do you have?

    How many joints do you have?

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    Joints connect the bones in your back, arms, legs, jaw, and other places. Some, like those in your hips and shoulders, are ball and socket joints: A round end of bone fits into a small, cup-shaped area of another bone.  This type of joint gives you the greatest range of motion.

    You have hinge joints in your:

    You have hinge joints in your:

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    Your front door only opens one way, right? That's because it’s on a hinge. Your elbow and knee joints work the same way. You have lots of smaller hinge joints in your fingers and toes.

    Your nose can get out of joint.

    Your nose can get out of joint.

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    Don't take offense, but you couldn’t get your nose out of joint if you tried. It has no joints. No one really knows for sure how this expression came about, but it’s been around since the 1500s.

    How long do most knee replacements last?

    How long do most knee replacements last?

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    Surgery to replace knees, hips, and shoulders is common. In the 1970s, when knee replacement surgeries were first being done, doctors thought the new joints would last about 10 years. Now, most people get 20 years out of them. The new knee joints are made of titanium, stainless steel, and other materials. Doctors sometimes use cement to attach them to the bone.

    This is a joint-friendly way to get fit:

    This is a joint-friendly way to get fit:

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    Show your joints some love. You can get a great workout and burn off breakfast with a swim or a bike ride. These activities are easier on your joints than pounding exercises like running, kickboxing, and step aerobics.

     

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    Great job! You've boned up on your joints and know how they work.

    Good job! You’ve been casing the joints, but you missed a few things. 

    You have some things to learn about your joints. Study up and take this quiz again.

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