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This review aims to provide a summary of current concepts of ageing in relation to the musculoskeletal system, highlighting recent advances in the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the development of age-related changes in bone, skeletal muscle, chondroid and fibrous tissues. The key components of the musculoskeletal system and their functions are introduced together with a general overview of the molecular hallmarks of ageing. A brief description of the normal architecture of each of these tissue types is followed by a summary of established and developing concepts of mechanisms contributing to the age-related alterations in each. Extensive detailed description of these changes is beyond the scope of this review; instead, we aim to highlight some of the most significant processes and, where possible, the molecular changes underlying these and refer the reader to in-depth, subspecialist reviews of the individual components for further details.