The Hyoid bone- your body's "floating bone"


The body is composed of bones that are connected to each other by thick bands of tissue known as ligaments. But the question is "are there bones that are not attached to other bones? Do floating bones exist?

The hyoid bone is a horseshoe shaped bone located in the front part of the neck. It is the only bone that is not attached to other bones and is surrounded by the muscles of the neck, like a fruit trapped in jelly. It provides protection to, and a point of attachment for many muscles associated with the floor of the mouth, as well as the larynx (voice box), pharynx (throat), and epiglottis (flexible cartilage that closes over the windpipe when swallowing).

Although other animals have different forms of the hyoid bone, humans are the only ones that have the hyoid bone in a strategic position, working together with the voice box and the tongue, making us speak coherently and swallow food easily. It is possible for the hyoid bone to break in a case of forceful choking or strangulation. This can lead to difficulty in swallowing (dysphagia), difficulty in breathing (dyspnea) and pain when moving the neck.