Structure of the Muscular System

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The muscular system is a complex collection of tissues, each with a different purpose. The muscular system is often considered in conjunction with the skeletal system, and called the muscular-skeletal system. Understanding the components of the muscular system, including the various types of connective tissues, is a good way to understand how bodies and physical movement work.

Skeletal Muscles

Skeletal muscles and skeletal muscle tissue are the structures that come to most people's minds when thinking about "muscles." Skeletal muscle tissue is a coarse muscle tissue optimized for contracting and moving body parts. Skeletal muscle tissues are often associated with the parts of the muscular system that are under our conscious control. A dense supply of blood vessels and nerves in skeletal tissue aids contraction, which pulls on tendons and bones, causing skeletal movement.

Smooth Muscles

Smooth muscle tissues are often associated with sub-conscious control of various systems in the body. Smooth muscle tissue is associated with the stomach and intestines and the urinary system. Smooth muscle tissues control blood flow in major organs and are key in regulating blood pressure.

Tough Tendons

Tendons connect skeletal muscles to the bones the muscles will move. Tendons are both strong and flexible and are highly resistant to tears and breakage. However, tendons can be strained or injured if overextended. Because tendons do not heal easily, seek a doctor's advice for an injured tendon. Athletes are prone to rupturing their Achillis tendon, which connects calf muscle to the bone in the heel. Tears can be quite painful and may require surgery.

Flexible Ligaments

A ligament is the fibrous material that connects two bones that are moved via skeletal muscles. They provide stability for the bones both during movement by the skeletal muscles and during rest. Ligaments are closely related to the muscular system. Joint functioning and range of motion is controlled by ligaments. Many ligaments are found in the knee.A common knee injury occurs to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during sudden stops or twists.

Adipose Tissue

Adipose tissue is another key component of the muscular-skeletal system. Adipose tissue is a connective tissue that stores energy in the form of fat cells, and it cushions joints. It is important in protecting joints during strained skeletal-muscle contractions, such as in sports and other strenuous exercise. The heart and other major ogans are protected by adipose tissue. Too much adipose tissue raises the risk of problems like diabetes.


About the Author

Although he grew up in Latin America, Mr. Ma is a writer based in Denver. He has been writing since 1987 and has written for NPR, AP, Boeing, Ford New Holland, Microsoft, RAHCO International, Umax Data Systems and other manufacturers in Taiwan. He studied creative writing at Mankato State University in Minnesota. He speaks fluent Mandarin Chinese, English and reads Spanish.