The musculoskeletal system

The musculoskeletal system

Made up of two systems – the muscular and skeletal system, the musculoskeletal system has a primary function of movement and support(Nordin & Frankel, 2001). However, the system does other additional functions like protection of vital structures, body stability, and storage of salts especially calcium, the establishment of body forms and the formation of new blood cells. These functions are made possible by the hard tissues made up of bones and articular cartilages, and the soft tissues comprising of the tendons, membranes, ligaments, muscles, capsule joints and synovial.

Essentially, the skeletal system has an advanced arrangement of bones, unique bone to bone joints that permits and at the same time, limit specific body movements. The system also outlines the other additional factors that influence the stability of the joints. This is evident in a  bony congruence joint which has higher stability, unlike a poor bony congruence joint. On the flip hand, the muscular system primarily describes different movements produced at different bone joints. The system is based on the simple principle of a location of muscles in relation to joints and attachments to bones forming such joints. An instance is a muscle lying anterior to two or more than two bones, and crossing joints formed by such bones anteriorly has higher possibilities of producing a movement (flexion) when contraction occurs on the joint.  The muscles of this system are attached to the bones, pulling on them, contacting the fibers in the muscle thus allowing body movement.

Additional elements of the musculoskeletal system are the: i) the joints that reflect a compromise between body’s stability and its range of motion, ii) tendons and ligaments that attach muscles to bones and, bones to bone respectively, iii) nerves that primarily control the contractions (skeletal muscles), interpretation of the sensory information and coordinating the activities of the body organs and organ systems iv) cartilages- connective tissues that are firm gel-like substances. The body has three cartilages;i) fibrocartilage for preventing bone to bone contraction, limitingrelative, movement and resisting compressions, ii) hyaline that provides stiff and flexible support, tips of the ribs in adults are examples of hyaline cartilagesand iii) elastic cartilage that provide support at the same time they can tolerate distortions and return to their original shape without, much damage.However, care should be taken on these cartilages as they heal poorly at the same time damage of the fibrocartilage in some joints like the knees can possibly interfere with normal body movements. Having both the hyaline and fibrocartilages injuries on the knee produces tears in the pads of the fibrocartilage which do not heal which eventually reduces the joint mobility.

In a recap, there are varieties of conditions that can possibly affect joints, bones, and muscles of the musculoskeletal system. Such disorders range from diseases to minor physical injuries. Some of the clinical conditions are; osteoporosis- porous bones, sarcopenia- damage of the muscle mass and strength, arthritis- a condition that damage joints due to aging and muscular dystrophy- a condition that weakens the system and obstructs locomotion. Other conditions include Osteomalacia, Tendonitis, Rotator cuff tear, Myasthenia gravis, Lupus erythematosus and Carpal tunnel syndrome


Nordin, M., & Frankel, V. H. (2001). Basic biomechanics of the musculoskeletal system. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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