Guide Musculoskeletal System (Human Body)

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Diseases of the skeletal system

It pumps out 2 ounces 57 grams of blood with every heartbeat. Daily, the heart pumps at least 2, gallons 9, liters of blood. Skeletal muscle fibers can be divided into two types based on how they produce and use energy:. The slow-twitch muscles are efficient at using oxygen and can function over a long time before they fatigue.

Fast-twitch muscles are much better at generating short bursts of strength or speed than slow-twitch muscles. Visceral or smooth muscle is found inside of organs and is controlled by the un-conscious part of the brain. Each bone in the skeleton contains two forms of tissue: compact dense bone that is relatively solid, and spongy cancellous bone that forms an open network of struts and plates.

Compact bone is found on the external surface of the bone; spongy bone is located inside the bone. The amount of compact and spongy bone depends on the shape of the bone.


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Compact bone is thickest where stresses arrive from a limited range of directions. Spongy bone is located where bones are not heavily stressed or where stresses arrive from many directions. Spongy bone is much lighter than compact bone, which helps reduce the weight of the skeleton and makes it easier for muscles to move the bones.

The muscle groups and their actions

The growth of the skeleton determines the size and proportions of the body. Bones begin to form in a fetus about six weeks after fertilization, and portions of the skeleton do not stop growing until a person is about 25 years old. Most bones begin as hyaline cartilage. The cartilage is gradually converted to bone through a process called ossification.

What are the main functions of the muscular system?

Bone growth begins at the center of the cartilage. As bones enlarge, bone growth activity shifts to the ends of the bones an area commonly called the growth plate , which causes the bones to grow longer. Cartilage heals poorly, and damaged fibrocartilage in joints such as the knee can interfere with normal movements. The knee contains both hyaline cartilage and fibrocartilage. The hyaline cartilage covers bony surfaces; fibrocartilage pads in the joint prevent contact between bones during movement. Injuries to the joints can produce tears in the fibrocartilage pads, and the tears do not heal.

11 functions of the muscular system: Diagrams, facts, and structure

Eventually, joint mobility is severely reduced. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Tremendous advantages have been gained from this erect posture, the chief among which has been the freeing of the arms for a great variety of uses. Nevertheless, erect posture has created a number of mechanical problems—in particular, weight bearing. These problems have had to be met by adaptations of the skeletal system.

Protection of the heart , lungs , and other organs and structures in the chest creates a problem somewhat different from that of the central nervous system. These organs, the function of which involves motion, expansion, and contraction, must have a flexible and elastic protective covering.

Diagram of the Human Muscular System (Infographic)

Such a covering is provided by the bony thoracic basket, or rib cage , which forms the skeleton of the wall of the chest, or thorax. The connection of the ribs to the breastbone—the sternum —is in all cases a secondary one, brought about by the relatively pliable rib costal cartilages.


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The small joints between the ribs and the vertebrae permit a gliding motion of the ribs on the vertebrae during breathing and other activities. The motion is limited by the ligamentous attachments between ribs and vertebrae. The third general function of the skeleton is that of motion.

The Muscular System Explained In 6 Minutes

The great majority of the skeletal muscles are firmly anchored to the skeleton, usually to at least two bones and in some cases to many bones. Thus, the motions of the body and its parts, all the way from the lunge of the football player to the delicate manipulations of a handicraft artist or of the use of complicated instruments by a scientist, are made possible by separate and individual engineering arrangements between muscle and bone. In this article the parts of the skeleton are described in terms of their sharing in these functions. The disorders and injuries that can affect the human skeleton are described in the article bone disease.