The three natural curves of your spine – at your neck, chest and lower back – are supported by the abdomen, back, buttocks and thigh muscles. These important muscle groups must be kept strong and flexible to support your body and maintain a healthy back.

Your ankle is both strong and flexible, bearing the weight of the entire body. It is an important joint for walking and running and can become injured during even simple activities. The ankle contains many complex fibrous tendons and ligaments. Tendons provide ankle motion and connect the muscles in the lower leg to the bones of the ankle and foot. Ligaments help stabilize the ankle joint and connect bone to bone.

Your spine is the main support structure of the entire body and protects your spinal cord. It is made up of twenty-four moveable bones (vertebrae) with cushion-like discs between each that act as shock absorbers. The many ligaments and muscles of the back aid a great number of movements, including bending, leaning and turning your shoulders. Much of your activities cause stress to the lower back, or lumbar region. Improper lifting and twisting / bending motions often result in lower back injuries.

Your elbow joint is more than a simple hinge. Through a number of muscles and tendons, the elbow allows you to bend (flex) and extend your arm and rotate your hand. Tendons attach the extensor / flexor muscles to the epicondyles of the elbow. The epicondyles are the two bony knobs on either side of your elbow. The biceps and triceps muscles help to bend and extend your elbow.

Your foot is very complex and extremely functional. It maintains the balance of the leg and body and acts as a lever that stabilizes and lifts your body’s weight in order to move forward. Most foot problems occur as a result of mistreatment, such as wearing shoes that lack the proper cushioning.

Your knee is the largest joint in the body and must endure your entire weight. The knee joint serves as a hinge between the thigh bone (femur) and the top of the shinbone (tibia). It is protected by the kneecap (patella) and has a complex system of tendons, muscles and ligaments to aid movement. Because of this, and because the knee is necessary for running, jumping and other movements, injuries are common.

Your rib cage is a very important structure that protects your vital internal organs such as your heart, lungs and liver. Twelve pairs of ribs attach to the spine in the back and wrap around towards your sternum (breast bone) where some attach in the front. Damage to one or more ribs can cause damage to the internal organs.

Your thumb is very different from your other four fingers. To begin with, the thumb only has two bones (or phalanges) while the other fingers have three. The thumb is also opposable, meaning its enhanced freedom of movement enables you to touch your thumb to the tips of your other four fingers, allowing you to grasp objects. A system of muscles makes all this movement possible, and repeated use of these muscles puts stress primarily on two joints – the Basal joint, located at the very base of the hand between the thumb and the wrist, and the Metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint, located at the base of the thumb.

Your wrist is the joint between the two bones of the lower arm (radius and ulna) and the five bones of the hand and is made up of eight carpal bones. The muscles and tendons attached to all these bones allow you to rotate your wrist, as if screwing in a lightbulb, and bend and flex your wrist, as if bouncing a basketball. Because of the complexity and frequent use of the wrist joint, injuries are common.