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Periosteum (Human Anatomy): Image, Functions, Diseases and Treatments

Last Updated: Mar 18, 2023

Periosteum Image

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  • The periosteum is a thin layer of tissue that covers the surface of bones and is known as the periosteal membrane. It is made up of two layers, the outermost layer being fibrous and the innermost layer being cellular.
  • The outer fibrous layer is made up of dense connective tissue, and it lends the bones its support in terms of their structural integrity. In addition to playing a role in the development, maintenance, and sensory function of bone tissue, the inner most cellular layer of bone tissue is home to nerve fibres, blood vessels, and stem cells.
  • The periosteum contributes to the body in a number of significant ways, including providing protection, a blood supply, growth and healing, sensory function, movement, and support.
  • The medical term for the membrane that surrounds the majority of your bones and contains blood arteries and nerves is referred to as the periosteum. It is pronounced peRRY-OSS-tee-um to refer to the periosteum. It is what provides bones with their blood flow and imparts a sense of sensation to them.
  • Your bones' growth and development, as well as their repair after a bone fracture, are aided by specialised cells located in the periosteum.

Where is the periosteum located?

The periosteum wraps around the majority of your skeleton's bones. It covers every component of your bones with the exception of the areas that are covered with cartilage and the attachment points for your ligaments and tendons.Bones without periosteum

Your sesamoid bones, also known as the bones that are implanted in your tendons or muscles, are the only bones that do not have periosteum covering them. Your sesamoid bones can be found in the joints of your body, including the joints of your fingers:

  • Your patella (kneecap).
  • In your hands and wrists.
  • In your feet.
  • Sesamoid bones typically require a longer period of time to repair than other bones do because they do not receive a direct blood supply from a periosteum.

Periosteum layers

  • The periosteum has two layers.
  • The inner layer as well as the bone that lies beneath it are guarded by the outer layer. It is constructed of thick fibres of collagen. The outermost layer of the periosteum contains the vast majority of the periosteum's nerves and blood vessels.
  • When your bone is developing or needs to heal, osteoprogenitor cells and the osteoblasts that they form are located in the inner layer, which is also referred to as the cambium layer at times.
  • The periosteum is more robust in children and younger individuals, but it attenuates and becomes thinner as people age and stop developing further.

Periosteum vs endosteum and perichondrium

  • Periosteum: The periosteum is a thin layer of tissue that covers the surface of bones and is known as the periosteal membrane. Protection, blood supply, growth and healing, sensory function, movement and support are just some of the crucial roles that it plays.
  • Endosteum: Endosteum is a tissue layer that lines the inner surface of bones. It comprises osteogenic cells, which are responsible for bone tissue development and maintenance. Additionally, the endosteum contains blood arteries that deliver nutrition and oxygen to bone tissue.
  • Perichondrium: Connective tissue called the perichondrium covers cartilage. The cartilage-making and -maintaining cells, chondrocytes, are found in this structure. Blood arteries are also located in the perichondrium, which aids in supplying nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage tissue.

In summary, the periosteum is a layer of tissue that covers the surface of bones, the endosteum is a layer of tissue that lines the inner surface of bones, and the perichondrium is a layer of tissue that surrounds cartilage.


Periosteum Functions

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The periosteum is a thin membrane that lines the outer surface of the skeleton. It's useful in a number of ways, including:

  • Protection: The periosteum functions as an additional layer of defence against mechanical stress and trauma to the skeleton.
  • Blood supply: The periosteum's abundance of blood vessels ensures the bones receive a steady supply of oxygen and nutrients.
  • Growth and repair: Stem cells, which can divide and develop into many specialised cells, are found in the periosteum. The function of these cells is essential to the development and maintenance of bone formation.
  • Sensory function: Bones send sensory information to the brain via nerve fibres located in the periosteum.
  • Movement: The periosteum plays a role in bone motion because it serves as a tendon and muscle attachment site.
  • Support: The periosteum plays a crucial role in maintaining the integrity and straightness of the skeleton.

Periosteum Conditions and Disorders

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  • Periostitis: Periosteal inflammation refers to redness and swelling of the periosteum, the thin layer of tissue that lines the outside of bones.
  • Bone fractures: The separation of two or more bones.
  • Periosteal chondroma: Benign tumours of the periosteum, the tissue that lines the bones, are extremely uncommon.
  • Osgood-Schlatter disease: An injury or disorder that affects the epiphysis (growth plate) near the top of the shinbone (tibia). Inflammation and soreness in the front of the knee are hallmarks of this condition.
  • Osteomyelitis: Infection that affects the bone tissue or the marrow.l
  • Osteoporosis: A condition characterised by bone fragility and breakage.
  • Osteitis deformans: Disorder characterised by aberrant bone production that leads to progressive bone thickening and deformity over time. Paget's disease is a synonym for this condition.
  • Periostitis ossificans: Periosteal neoplasia describes the development of bone tissue within the periosteum.
  • Periosteal hematoma: A pool of blood that has leaked out of a blood artery and is now stuck between the periosteum and the bone.

Periosteum Tests

  • X-rays: By creating images of the bones and the surrounding tissues, X-rays can be utilised to diagnose disorders with the periosteum. Periosteal anomalies, such as thickening or edema, may be seen by X-rays, indicating the presence of an infection or a fracture.
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Because MRI provides such high-resolution images of the skeleton and its surrounding tissues, it can be used to diagnose periosteal abnormalities. Periosteal abnormalities, such as inflammation or swelling, may be detected by
  • MRI: These changes may indicate the presence of an underlying condition, such as an infection or tumour.
  • CT scan: Periosteal abnormalities can be diagnosed with the help of CT scans since they provide such high-quality images of the skeleton and adjacent tissues. Periosteal changes, such as thickening or swelling, may be visible on CT scans, suggesting an infection or fracture.
  • Biopsy: To determine the cause of periosteal issues, a doctor may perform a biopsy and examine the sample of tissue under a microscope. Infections, cancers, and inflammatory diseases are just few of the many illnesses that can be diagnosed with a biopsy.
  • Bone density test (DXA): Periosteal issues can be diagnosed with the help of a bone density test. A poor bone density could point to periosteal issues like osteoporosis, which can lead to fragile bones.

Periosteum Treatments

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  • Fracture repair: The periosteum is susceptible to injury when a bone is shattered. It is possible that surgical intervention will be required to support the bone by repairing the periosteum.
  • Osteomyelitis surgery: A bone infection (osteomyelitis) may require surgery to remove contaminated tissue, including the periosteum, if the infection is severe or does not respond to antibiotic treatment.
  • Tumour removal: Surgery may be required to remove a periosteal tumour (such as a periosteal chondroma or periosteal osteosarcoma).
  • Periosteal hematoma drainage: It may be necessary to operate in order to drain a periosteal hematoma (an accumulation of blood within the periosteum) if it is causing discomfort.
  • Chemotherapy: Drug-based cancer therapy is a method of treating the disease. It can be administered either before or after surgery to assist reduce the size of the tumour and/or eliminate any leftover cancer cells.
  • Radiation therapy: High-energy beams, such as x-rays or protons, are used in this therapeutic method to eliminate cancer cells. It can be administered either before or after surgery to assist reduce the size of the tumour and/or eliminate any leftover cancer cells.

How to keep my periosteum healthy?

Bone (and general) health can be maintained with a healthy diet, frequent exercise, and regular doctor's visits.

If you want to lessen your chances of getting hurt, remember these basic safety rules:

  • Always fasten your seatbelt when driving.
  • Always take precautions by using the proper safety gear.
  • Avoid having any potential tripping hazards around your home or office.
  • When working around the house, it's important to always utilise the right equipment. Never put your weight on low-lying furniture or a countertop.
  • If you have trouble walking or are at a higher risk for falls, you should use a cane or walker.

Periosteum Medicines

  • Steroids for reducing inflammation of Periosteum: To alleviate inflammation, medical professionals often prescribe steroid medication. Prednisone and dexamethasone are two examples of corticosteroids that could be used to treat periosteal inflammation.
  • Analgesics for pain in Periosteum: To put it simply, analgesics are painkillers. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are two examples of analgesics that could be used to alleviate periosteal pain.
  • Muscle relaxants for stiffness in Periosteum: Medication known as muscle relaxants is often prescribed for those experiencing muscle tightness or spasms. Cyclobenzaprine and diazepam are two examples of muscle relaxants that could be utilised to alleviate periosteal stiffness.
  • Antibiotics for infection in Periosteum: Antibiotics are drugs prescribed for bacterial illnesses. Penicillin and amoxicillin are two examples of antibiotics that could be used to treat a periosteal infection.
  • Nutritional supplements for reducing pain in Periosteum: The purpose of nutritional supplements is to make up for any nutrients that one's diet may be lacking in, or offer in insufficient quantities. Glucosamine and chondroitin are two examples of dietary supplements that could be utilised to alleviate periosteal pain.
  • Antivirals for treating infection of Periosteum: Medications called 'antivirals' are used to treat viral infections. Acyclovir and other antivirals are sometimes used to treat periosteal infections.
  • Chemotherapeutic medicines for Periosteum: Drugs that inhibit the growth of cancer cells are called chemotherapeutics. Cisplatin, epirubicin, and docetaxel are just a few examples of the chemotherapeutic medications that may be used to treat periosteum problems.

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Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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Reviewed ByDr. Bhupindera Jaswant SinghMD - Consultant PhysicianGeneral Physician

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