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The human skeletal system is made in such a way that it is adapted to its functions of support, locomotion, movement and attachment of muscles. It consists of numerous bones that are interconnected through the joints. For the purpose of joining the bones on the joints, the human skeletal system also consists of the ligaments, tendons and the cartilages. The arrangements and the different types of joints of the skeletal system are themselves adaptations for movement and locomotion (Human Kinetics 2013, P. 32). An example is the hip joint, which takes the form of a ball and socket joint. Similarly, the shape of the bones and the length of the bones are also adaptive features for enabling body locomotion and movement. The arrangement of the skeletal muscles is naturally done in such a way that it aids in movement and locomotion. The body muscles are of different types, shapes and sizes, a feature that serves to enhance the adaptations of the musculoskeletal system to movement and locomotion (Human Kinetics 2013, P. 33). The structure of the muscles too is an adaptation to locomotion and movement. The musculoskeletal system, therefore, performs its functions courtesy of the natural adaptations that it has. The paper examines the adaptations of the skeletal system in relation to its function, the arrangement of muscles, and the function of locomotion and movement. The paper will refer to the training of the world cup footballer by relating his training to the adaptations of the skeletal system.

5.1. How the Structure of the Skeleton is related to its Function

The human skeleton is classified into two subdivisions. The first subdivision is the axial skeleton that consists of the skull and much of the vertebral column. The second subdivision is the appendicular skeleton, which consists of the hip bone (pelvic girdle), the pectoral (shoulder) bone and the limbs (Rodgers, 2010). With the consideration of the body systems like the cardiovascular, digestive and the respiratory system, the skeleton is said of having three major functions. These are support, protection and motion. Motion includes movement and locomotion.

In terms of protection, the axial skeleton is characterized by hard bones that protect the brain and the spinal cord. The spinal cord and the brain are entirely located in the axial skeleton. Bones of the cranial vault are hard and with fixed joints, an adaptation that aids protection of the brain (Rodgers 2010). The vertebral column too consists of the vertebrae, which have a canal through which the spinal cord passes. The walls of the canal consist of hard bony material for protection. In the case of training a footballer, many exercises and movements are involved. The intactness of the cranial vault and the vertebral column ensures that the brain and the spinal cord remain undisturbed by the movements. Similarly, the many vertebral joints of the vertebral column ensure that flexibility of the body of the footballer during training. Since the footballer has to make many moves, and turn in different directions, the flexibility of the joints facilitates the moves (Rodgers 2010).

Posture and its maintenance is another feature of the adaptation of the skeleton. The shape of the skeleton and the joints, as well as, the ability to free the limbs is an adaptation to posture, locomotion and movement (Currey 2002). Considering the neck, for example, it is made up of many vertebral joints and the muscles that enable it to turn into the different directions. The footballer who is on training needs to turn into different directions to monitor the ball, and the locations of the other footballers. This is made possible by the arrangement of the vertebrae of the neck. Similarly, the shape of the vertebral column and the bones of the skeleton is an adaptation feature of the skeletal system (Currey 2002). The vertebral column has curves in the neck region, the thoracic region and also the lumbar (abdominal) region. The neck region has an inward curve, an outward curve for the thoracic region, and there is an inward curve for the lumbar region. Such curves allow for easy bending during movement, locomotion and posture. Considering the case of the training footballer, there are many movements involved, including bending and making body moves and turns. The curves of the vertebral column allows for such turns and bending in the flexion and extension movements, enabling the footballer to make swift moves and chase the ball.


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Figure 5.1.1: The human skeleton showing the curves of the vertebral column (Google)

The joints of the skeletal system are also an adaptation for the movement and locomotion. There are different types of joints in the skeletal system. Considering the different functions of the skeletal system, the different joints are adapted for the different functions. For example, the joints of the cranial vault are fixed and do not allow for movement (Currey 2002). This is an adaptation for protection of the delicate brain. The joints of the vertebral column also allows for very small movements, since they have to permit the bending, but at the same time, they have to protect the spinal cord (Rodgers 2010). In relation to the limbs and their movements, a special type of a joint, referred to as the ball and socket joints are involved. As an adaptive feature, the hip and the shoulder joints allows for free movement to an extent of 360 degrees (Currey 2002). The football trainee uses this feature in chasing the ball and kicking the ball from different angles. The extension of the limbs is also endowed with flexible joints for movement and locomotion. The knee and the elbow joints allow for extensive flexion and extension movements, which are necessary for the trainee, in terms of kicking the ball in different directions, and applying the needed force. In addition, the ankle joint is a major adaptation of the skeletal system for locomotion. The muscles that reinstate the joint allows for planter-flexion and dorsiflexion movements that are very useful in football training. They allow for kicking the ball upwards, as well as, in all directions. Finally, the muscles of the skeletal system are attached to the bones, and they are the ones responsible for making the different movements of the body.

Figure 5.1.2: Body Joints (Google)5.2. Arrangement of Skeletal muscles in the Human Body.

The skeletal muscle organization in the human body is, in a way, that allows for movement. Since the muscles are attached in the joints, there organization allows for a range of movement, power and movement of the joints they are associated. The muscle cells, referred to as fibres, are organized and arranged into bundles referred to as fascicles. The arrangement is such that the fibres run parallel to the fascicles. The four different patterns of organization of the fascicles are parallel, convergent, penname and circular (Malcntosh, Gardiner & McComas 2006).

The parallel or fusiform arrangement of the muscles is the most common with the skeletal muscles. Muscles arranged this way have the central part being thick than the ends. The parallel muscles contract extensively, which is an important adaptive feature of the musculoskeletal system. An example is the Sartorius muscle, which is the longest muscle in the body. They contribute greatly to flexion and extension.

Figure 5. 2. 1: Muscle Fascicle Arrangement: Retrieved from “Human Kinetics” (n.d).

The penname muscle arrangement is further divided into three categories of the unipennate, bipinnate and the multipennate. They are feather-like, and they form angles with tendons. Although they contain more myofibrils than the parallel muscles, they do not allow as much movement as the parallel muscles. However, the pennate muscles have been found to develop more tension than the penname muscles (Rodgers 2010). In the case of training as a footballer, the parallel muscles will allow more movement, while the pennate muscles allows for tension needed while training. In football training, the trainee will require to move the lower limbs to kick the balls, a function of the parallel muscles while one needs to develop tension for balance and support.

Another arrangement of muscles comes in the form of circular muscles. The circular muscles compose of a concentric arrangement of muscle fascicles (Malcntosh, Gardiner & McComas 2006). They form the openings and closing of body openings. They are very useful for a training footballer. During the training, some of the openings of the footballer need to remain closed, while others like the mouth may be open to aid in respiration. The circular muscles like the orbicularis oris perform that function.

The arrangement of skeletal muscles is also in such a way that allows the muscles to function like levers. The attachments of the skeletal muscles on the skeleton is responsible for the production of motion. For example, the muscles attach on an end of a bone, and insert themselves at the beginning of another muscle, such that they surround the joint (Rodgers 2010). Such an arrangement facilitate protection of the delicate joints by the muscles, as well as, movement of the joint in various directions and angles. In the lever system arrangement, the bone functions as a structure that is moved by the muscles through the fulcrum, which is the joint. The lever system is of the joints has the three classes of levers. An example is the lever of the upper arm, with the biceps muscle that functions to move the elbow joint in a third class lever system.

Fig 5.2.2: The biceps muscle in a lever system. Its contraction causes flexion of the knee joint. (Diagram courtesy of Google)

5.3: Functions of the Skeletal System in Movement and Locomotion.

The skeletal and the muscular system, together combined as the musculoskeletal system are responsible for movement and locomotion in a human being (Malcntosh, Gardiner & McComas 2006). The footballer trainee, who is in focus in this paper applies much of the muscles and the bones in movement and locomotion in the field. In the lever system arrangement of muscles and bones, the bones act as rigid structures, while the muscles act as movers through the joint, as the fulcrum. The lever allows for various movements during the training sessions. The lever of the ankle, the hip and the knee joints are very necessary for kicking the ball, and the movements required for making sure the opponent does not pick the ball. The swift movements are also necessary for the stability of the trainee. On the other hand, the muscles of the upper limb help the trainee to run in the field while chasing the ball.

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Figure 5.3.1. (a) and (b): The musculoskeletal function of movement and locomotion. (Google)

The diagrams in the figure 5.3.1. (a and b) shows the skeletal and muscular systems in relation to the structure and the function of movement and locomotion. From the diagram, movement and locomotion are functions of the muscular and skeletal systems with the coordination of the nervous system. Since skeletal muscles function through a voluntary action, every muscle is innervated by a nerve (Currey 2002; Rodgers 2010). A command from the brain and/or spinal cord reaches the muscle fibre and an action is initiated. The movement comes about through flexion and extension. Figure (a) can figuratively represent a trainee footballer. From the diagram, as it happens with the trainee, the muscles relax and contract to enable movement. For example, as the trainee runs forward, the muscles relax and contract to pull and release the bones, in order to move from one step to another. Figure (b) shows the strong skeletal muscles of the body that are directly involved in movement through relaxation and contraction.

While running, the football trainee touches the ground through the toes. The toes carry the weight of the whole body. Such landing is supported by the muscles, which hold the weight of the body to prevent the trainee from a fall. From figure (a), one can appreciate the role of joints in movement. Taking, for example, the leg that is behind, the head of the femur has rotated about in the acetabulum to allow the thrust. The knee joint has flexed. In the front leg, the knee joint is extended while the hip is flexed. The movements of the upper limbs follow a similar pattern, as can be appreciated from the diagram.


In sum, movement and locomotion is a function of the musculoskeletal system. The coordination of movement and locomotion involves the joints, bones, muscles and the nervous system. The tendons and ligaments that join muscles to bones and bones to bones also aid movement. Arrangement of skeletal muscles is in such a way that it is an adaptive feature for the functions of movement and locomotion. The muscles contract and relax, to produce the movements of flexion and extension, which allow locomotion.


6.2: Rheumatoid Arthritis and Sjogren Syndrome

The purpose of this letter is to inform you and any other concerned parties about the medical condition of the above named person, and how this disease affects the football career of the person. The named person has been diagnosed with three conditions, which in one way or another, affects the person’s participation in the football career. The first two, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren Syndrome are discussed here, while Asthma is discussed under 6. 2 below.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition that describes a condition of the inflammation of the joints and the surrounding tissues (Hochberg et al., 2008). The inflammation comes along due to primary and secondary defense mechanisms. Being an autoimmune disease, the real causes of rheumatoid arthritis is not known, although the genetic composition, infections and hormonal changes are risk factors associated with its development. These factors, as well as, some factors in the environment have been suspected to trigger the activation of the immune system, leading to an attack of healthy cells of the body (Hochberg et al., 2008). The disease majorly affects the joints of the limbs, rendering them weak due to uncontrolled inflammation. Sometimes, however, the inflammation effect can affect some other parts of the body such as the eyes or lungs. Regardless of the trigger substance for rheumatic arthritis, the body immune response reacts by activating lymphocytes and chemical messengers such as the cytokines and the interleukins, which are expressed in the areas inflamed.

Sjogren disease, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that leads to the destruction of salivary and tear glands (Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation 2004, P. 29). A complication of the disease leads to an effect into the lungs and the kidneys. Just like rheumatoid arthritis, the disease is characterized by an effect on healthy body cells by the immune system. The disease thus leads to swollen glands, joint pain, fever and fatigue.

A footballer is adversely affected by the two diseases, rheumatoid and Sjogen’s disease. In the case presented here, the football trainee might have to terminate his career. The Sjogren disease affects the footballer’s eyes. The eyes and the mouth are always dry, compromising the footballer’s visual acuity (Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation 2004). Considering the role of acute vision in football, the performance of the footballer is likely to deteriorate. The mouth of the footballer is also affected and remains dry. Swallowing becomes a big problem to the footballer. The saliva becomes thickly, accompanied by mouth sores and soreness. The client becomes fatigued. Considering that the footballer needs to do exercises for training and also to run in the field, one cannot perform to the expected standards when suffering from these conditions.

In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, the joints of the limbs, including the knee, ankle, wrist and the elbow joints are inflamed, weak and painful. Due to inflammation of the joints, the footballer may experience fatigue and general body weakness, even when not exercising (Hochberg et al., 2008). Since football training and playing involves movement and locomotion, in which the joints play a pivotal role, the career of the footballer is compromised. The painful, weak, inflamed joints prevent thorough exercises and compromises performance in the field. In addition, the footballer is likely to experience chest pain, called pleurisy, and also experience difficulty while breathing. Given the important role of the lungs (in the chest) in exercising, it is clear that the performance of the footballer drops tremendously.

6.2. Allergic Asthma

Allergy is a condition in which part of the immune system is to vigilant to react to some substances that are not as harmful to the body as pathogens (Clark & Clark 2010, p. 23). Such substances include pollen, dust and cat dander. Upon encountering such allergens, the body reacts by producing immunoglobulin E antibodies, which trigger the release of histaminic chemicals, leading to initiation of inflammation. Allergic asthma, therefore, is a condition in which a person is hypersensitive to the allergens upon which one is sensitized (Clark & Clark 2010, p. 24). In the case where these allergens get into the airways, the immune system reacts, causing bronchospasms (tightening of muscles), inflammation and collection of thick mucus. The reaction may be followed by coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, tightening of the chest and rapid breathing.

Playing football may be difficult for a person suffering from allergic asthma. From the discussion, it is evident that the pathogenesis of asthma involves some mechanisms that lead to shortness of breath and tightening of the chest. Given that the air passages are affected, and the delivery of air to the lungs compromised, the oxygenation of the tissues is compromised (Johansson & Haahtela, 2004). The phenomenon is brought about as a result of inadequate air reaching the lungs. When body skeletal muscle tissues are undersupplied with oxygen, they cannot function to their maximum. The client can thus not perform to the expected standards in the career of football. In addition, the other symptoms that accompany asthma are disturbing to the client. For example, the client experiences coughing. Such a disturbance is likely to decrease the performance of the client while in the field.

Considering the effects that the three diseases have brought for this footballer, it is recommendable that he avoids tough exercises that may compromise body functioning, leading to serious complications. The combination of the effects of rheumatoid arthritis on the skeletal system, the Sjogren syndrome on the mucous membranes (eyes and mouth), and asthma on the respiratory system, it suffices to conclude that the client is medically impaired, and may not be in a position to perform to the expected standards in the football career. The damage to the joints caused by the rheumatic arthritis has greatly reduced the chances of the client to play football in the near future. I, therefore, advise that the client is not in a position to continue with the football career.


Clark, M., & Clark, M. V. 2010. Asthma: A clinician’s guide. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.

Currey, J.D (2002).Bones: structure and mechanics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Hochberg, M.C., Suliman, A.J., Smollen, S.J., Weinblatt, E.M., & Weisman, H.M. 2008. Rheumatoid arthritis. Camden, London: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Johansson, S. G., & Haahtela, T. 2004. Prevention of allergy and allergic asthma. Berlin: Karger Medical and Scientific Publishers.

“Human Kinetics”. n. d. Muscle structure and function. Retrieved from

Human Kinetics. 2013. Biophysical foundations of human movement. Stanningly, Leeds: Author.

Maclntosh, B.R., Gardner, F.P., & McComas, A.J. 2006. Skeletal muscle: form and function. Stanningley, Leeds: Human Kinetics.

Rodgers, K. 2010. Muscle and bone: structure, force, and motion. New York, NY: The Rosen Publishing Group.

Sjogren’s syndrome Foundation .2004. The new Sjogren’s syndrome handbook. Oxford, OX: Oxford University Press.