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By Alexandra Villa-Forte, MD, MPH

The musculoskeletal system comprises bones, muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons, and bursae. Any of these components can be injured or affected by a number of disorders. Some disorders affect primarily the joints (such as osteoarthritis), causing arthritis. Other disorders affect primarily the bones (such as fractures, Paget disease of bone, and tumors) or muscles or other soft tissues (such as fibromyalgia and tendinitis). Different diagnostic tests are available to diagnose musculoskeletal disorders, but the most important element of diagnosis is the doctor's medical history and physical examination.

* This is the Consumer Version. *