Musculoskeletal isn’t the easiest word to say, is it? (Try mus-kyo-lo-skel-e-tal.) ?
Translated, it literally means ‘relating to the muscles and skeleton’. But you could probably guess that, right? Let’s look at the two components separately:
The Skeleton is the hard part of our body. It’s made of lots of bones – 210 at my count (although, it seems many sources count the pelvis as just 2 bones, when in fact each side has 3 fused bones).
Joints are formed where 2 bones meet. These are either mobile (what we generally think of as a ‘joint’) or become fused as our body matures. We become ‘skeletally mature’ in our early 20s.
The outside of our bones are very sensitive (think scraping down your shin!). To allow unhindered movement of the moveable joints, the ends of the bones are covered in cartilage. This smooth substance reduces friction and is far less pain sensitive than bone.
Muscles are a contractile tissue. Meaning they can change their length. They do this by pulling the muscle fibres together (a little bit like a ratchet).
Muscles attach to the bones (the individual parts of the hard skeletal system). As a result their contraction, produces movement at the joint/s.
So, you can see how the skeleton and the muscles (aka the musculoskeletal system) work together forming our ability to move. No movement would be possible without both of them working together.
And in the end it allows us to walk about, wave at friends and (in my usually caveman frame of mind) even go out hunting for dinner.
Is there anything (anatomical) you’d like to know more about? Just let us know in the comments, below.