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Biomechanics I 1

Axial vs. Appendicular

 Axial skeleton refers to the body of

the animal

 Appendicular refers to the limbs

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Axial skeleton Appendicular
 Forms the long  Bones of upper &
axis of the body lower extremities
 80 bones in three and girdles
major regions  126 bones in three
 skull
major regions
 vertebral column

 bony thorax • Shoulder girdle
• Ribs • Pelvic girdle
• Sternum  upper extremity
 lower extremity

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Classification of Bones

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Types of bones

 shortbones: approximately cubical;

include the carpals and tarsals
 flatbones: protect organs & provide
surfaces for muscle attachments;
include the scapulae, sternum, ribs,
patellae, some bones of the skull

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Types of bones
 irregular
bones: have different shapes
to serve different functions; include
vertebrae, sacrum, coccyx, maxilla
 longbones: form the framework of
the appendicular skeleton; include
humerus, radius, ulna, femur, tibia,

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 Classify by function
 Synarthroses
• Joints with little or no movement

• Slightly moveable joints

Diarthroses / Synovial joint
• Freely moveable joints
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Joint Architecture
 diarthrosesor synovial: (freely movable)
characterized by:
 articular cartilage - a protective

layer of dense white connective

tissue covering the articulating bone
 articular capsule - a double-layered

membrane that surrounds the joint

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Joint Architecture
 diarthroses or synovial: (freely movable)
characterized by:

synovial fluid - a clear, slightly yellow
liquid that provides lubrication inside
the articular capsule
 associated bursae - small capsules

filled with synovial fluid that cushion

the structures they separate

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Functions of articular cartilage

 distributing loads over joint surfaces

 improving the fit of articulations
 limiting slip between articulating bones
 protecting the joint periphery
 lubricating the joint
 absorbing shock at the joint

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Types of Synovial Joints

Plane joints
 Articular surfaces
are flat and allow
short slipping or
gliding movements
 Intercarpal and
intertarsal joints
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Types of Synovial Joints
Hinge joints
 Movement
resembles a door
 Elbow joint – ulna
and humerus;

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Types of Synovial Joints
Pivot joints
 Rounded end of one
bone protrudes into
a ring formed by
another bone or by
ligaments of that
 Proximal radioulnar
 Atlas-axial joint
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Types of Synovial Joints
Condyloid joints
 Oval articular
surface of one
bone fits into a
depression on
 Radiocarpal joints
 Metacarpophalang
eal joints

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Types of Synovial Joints
Saddle joints
 Each articular
surface has convex
and concave areas
Each articular
surface is saddle-
 Carpometacarpal
joints of the
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Types of Synovial Joints
Ball-and-Socket joints
 Spherical or semi-
spherical head of
one bone
articulates with the
cuplike socket of
 Allow for much
freedom of motion.
 Shoulder and hip

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Joint Stability
 ability
of a joint to resist abnormal
displacement of the articulating bones
 factors increase joint stability
 a closely reciprocating match of the
articulating bone surfaces

a strong array of ligaments and
muscle tendons crossing the joint

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Factors increase joint
 articulating bone surfaces
 wide contact area - high stability
 different among joints and
 change in joint angle - change in
contact area - change in stability

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Factors increase joint
 Connective tissues crossing the joint
 weak and lax connective tissues -
low stability
 strengthening of tissues - increase
in stability
 muscle activity and fatigue -
decrease in stability

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Joint Flexibility
a description of the relative ranges of
motion allowed at a joint in different
 range of motion (ROM) - the angle
through which a joint moves from
anatomical position to the extreme
limit of segment motion in a particular
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Factors influence joint
 Shapes of articulating bone surfaces
 Intervening muscle or fatty tissue
 Laxity
 Extensibility of collagenous tissue and
 Fluid contents in cartilagenous disc
 Temperature of collageneous tissues
 Stretching program

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Types of muscle

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Skeletal muscle
 Characteristics of skeletal muscle;

Extensibility - ability to be
stretched or to increase in length
• Viscoelasticity - having the
ability to stretch or shorten over

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Skeletal muscle
 Characteristics of skeletal muscle;
 Contractility - ability to contract

(develop tension)
 Excitability (Irritability) - ability to
respond to a stimulus
 Elasticity - ability to recoil to normal
length following a stretch

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Elastic components
 Parallelelastic component (PEC)

passive elastic property of muscle
derived from muscle membranes
(epimysium, perimysium,
endomysium, sarcolemma)
 Series elastic component (SEC)

passive elastic property of muscle
derived from the tendons (primarily
responsible for elasticity)
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Elastic components
 Contractile component (CC)

actual part of muscle that contracts
(actin and myosin)

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Motor unit

 single motor neuron and all fibers it

 considered the functional unit of the
neuromuscular system

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Basic fiber arrangement
 parallel
fiber arrangement: fibers are
roughly parallel to the longitudinal axis
of the muscle
 Convergence: fan-shaped
 pennatefiber arrangement: short
fibers attach to one or more tendons
within the muscle

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Arrangements of Muscle Fibers

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Types of muscle contraction
 isometriccontraction: muscle length
does not change
 concentric contraction: muscle length
 eccentric contraction: muscle length

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Skeletal Muscle Function
 agonist: acts to cause a movement
 antagonist: acts to slow or stop a
 stabilizer:
acts to stabilize a body part
against some other force
 neutralizer:
acts to eliminate an
unwanted action produced by an agonist

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Muscle’s length-tension
 Tension present in a stretched muscle is
the sum of the active tension provided
by the muscle fibers and the passive
tension provided by the tendons and

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50 100 150
Length (% of resting length)

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Muscle’s force-velocity

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