Locomotion and Movement

Disorders of Muscular and Skeletal System

You must have heard your grandparents complain about joint pain or muscle weakness. In fact, arthritis affects almost 15% of the population of our country. Our degrading quality of life has made disorders of the muscular system and the skeletal system a grave concern. Let us study these disorders.

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Disorders of Muscular System and Skeletal System

The two main systems of the body that bring about movement are the skeletal and muscular systems. They are both individual systems but cannot function without each other. The skeletal system comprises of 206 bones while the muscular system comprises of 600 muscles. For the efficient functioning of both systems, other structures such as ligaments, tendons, cartilages and connective tissue play an important role. Two bones are connected by ligaments and a bone is connected to a muscle by a tendon.

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There can be disorders that affect either one of the systems or both at the same time. Let us learn about them individually.

Disorders of the Skeletal System

  • Osteoporosis: A very commonly occurring disease that is characterized by reduced mineral density in bones. It is more common in women as compared to men. Due to the decreased density of the bones, they are highly susceptible to fractures. Having calcium supplements helps to protect the bones and restore the bone density.
  • Arthritis: Another very common disease found commonly in the elderly population. It is a disease of the joints and is of many types. Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of arthritis that is autoimmune in nature because the body’s cells destroy the cells in the joints. Another type of arthritis is osteoarthritis which a degenerative disease. Infectious arthritis is a type of arthritis that is caused by bacteria or virus that are present in the blood and attack the joints. Gouty arthritis is a type of arthritis where uric acid is deposited in the joints making it a painful condition.

    (Source: theheartysoul.com)

  • Spondylitis: Like arthritis, spondylitis is also a group of disorders that primarily affect the spine.
  • Osteomalacia and Rickets: Osteomalacia is the manifestation of vitamin D deficiency in adults while rickets is found in children. Both these diseases are characterized by reduced amounts of calcium and phosphorous in bones making them fragile. Kidney disease and heredity are other causes of these diseases.
  • Dislocations and fractures: Dislocations are the unnatural position of bones due to injury or impact of any kind. Due to this, the bones move from their original position to a slightly different one or change angulation.¬†Fractures are a break in the bones due to an injury. There can be many types of fractures depending upon the impact force, the kind of bone and location of the bones.

Disorders of Muscular System

  • Sprain and strain: The most common muscular disorders are sprains and strains. Often confused one for the other, they are different disorders. A sprain occurs due to injury to the ligament and the joint is twisted but there is no dislocation of the bones. They can be mild to severe and can be accompanied by inflammation and pain. Severe cases also cause immobility of the body part. On the other hand, a strain is less severe than a sprain.

    (Source: kalolamassage.blogspot.com)

  • Muscular dystrophy: Is a genetic disease where a progressive deterioration of muscles making them weak. With the afflicted, they continue to lose their ability to walk, make movements with their hands etc as they grow old.
  • Myasthenia gravis: This is an autoimmune disease where the antibodies affect the nerves and they lose their ability to generate muscular contractions. Muscles of the face and neck are most affected and manifested with drooping eyelids, generalized fatigue, difficulty and in some cases inability to swallow.
  • Tetany: Uncontrolled twitching of muscles is known as tetany. There can be many causes such as nutritional deficiencies, infections or other nervous system disorders that can cause tetany in muscles.


(Source: slideplayer.com)

These disorders may affect individual systems, but the effect produced is often cumulative.

Solved Example for You

Q: Which structure connects two bones?

  1. Tendon
  2. Ligament
  3. Connective Tissue
  4. Muscle

Sol: (b) Ligament

A ligament is a supporting structure that connects two bones. A tendon is a structure that connects a bone to a muscle to bring about movement.

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