The skeletal systems relative to Sport and exercise actions

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Btec National Award Sport & Science                     Robert Foster




Sport and Exercise Science

Anatomy for sport and exercise – Assignment 1

Student: Robert Foster        

Date: 06/10/06                                                 Tutor: Sarah Raven

The skeletal systems relative to Sport and exercise actions


In this booklet I will be investigating the structure, functions and development of the skeleton and relate the structure of joints to the movement they permit.

The Skeleton

The human skeleton consists of 206 bones. The human body is born with more bones (about 300), but many fuse together as a child grows up. The bones support the body and allow the body to move. Bones contain a lot of calcium (an element found in milk, broccoli, and other foods). Bones manufacture blood cells and store important minerals.  The bones of the Skeleton can be grouped in two divisions: axial skeleton and appendicular skeleton.

Axial skeleton

The axial skeleton forms the central axis of the body. It consists of the skull, the, ribs the vertebral column and the sternum or breastbone.


The skull consists of 28 different bones (including the ear bones). The bones of the skull can be divided into two main groups: the cranium which encloses and protects the brain and the facial bones

The cranium

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The cranium consists of eight flat bones which are rigidly attached to each other with dentate sutures (joints with teeth-like protrusions). They envelop and protect the brain. The frontal bone forms the forehead and portions of the eye sockets. The occipital bone, at the base of the skull contains a large opening, called the foramen magnum, through which the spinal cord passes. On each side of the opening is the occipital condoyle, two round protuberances were the skull articulates. The organs of hearing are situated in the temporal bone, one on each side. The openings leading into these organs can also be seen on each side.

The Facial Bones

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The facial skeleton consists of fourteen irregular bones, which are all (except the lower jawbone) firmly attached to the cranium by means of sutures. They include the nasal bones, the two jawbones and the cheek bones. The lower jaw articulates with the temporal bone part of the cheek bone, just in front of the ear. This allows for the necessary movement of the lower jaw for the chewing of food. Both upper and lower jaws have alveolar pockets into which teeth fit.

The Ribs

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There are 12 ribs on each side of the body. Ribs are flat bones. They are numbered one through twelve from top to bottom. Each rib connects to a thoracic vertebra. The top seven are true ribs, which connect directly to coastal cartilage and the sternum. The remaining 5 ribs are false ribs. Three of them connect to costal cartilage shared with the 7th true rib. The last 2 ribs are floating ribs, which do not have connections on their front ends

The Vertebral Column

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The vertebral column forms the central part of the skeleton. It supports the skull and protects the spinal cord. It also serves as attachment for the ribs, the pectoral and pelvic girdles. The vertebral column consists of separate bones, the vertebrae. The different vertebrae are arranged above each other. Because the separate vertebrae are attached to each other by means of fibrous cartilaginous discs they form a flexible column. Each vertebra has articular surfaces above and below, which allow articulation movement between them. The vertebral column of 33 vertebrae is divided into five regions according to their position and structure. The five regions consist of: Seven cervical (neck) vertebrae, Twelve thoracic (chest) vertebrae, Five lumbar vertebrae, Five fused sacral vertebrae, and Four fused vertebrae

The Cervical Vertebrae

The neck region consists of 7 cervical vertebrae. These are the smallest vertebrae in the vertebral column. The first two cervical vertebrae are known as the atlas and axis. They are specially adapted to support the skull and to enable it to move. They differ from the structure of the typical vertebra in certain respects

The Thoracic Vertebrae

There are 12 thoracic vertebrae. The Centrum is large and sturdy and the neural spines are long and directed downwards. The long neural spines form an anchorage for the muscles and ligaments that support the head and neck.

The Lumbar Vertebrae

These 5 vertebrae are the largest and strongest in the vertebral column. The transverse processes are very long for the attachment of the powerful back muscle that maintain the posture and flex the spine in movement.

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The sacrum (pelvic)

The sacrum is roughly triangular in shape and consists of 5 fused vertebrae. It lies at the upper part of the pelvis cavity, with which it articulates. Horizontal ridges indicate the divisions between the fused vertebrae. At the ends of these ridges are openings which allow nerves and blood vessels to pass through.

The Coccyx

The coccyx consists of 4 fused tail vertebrae which are small and have a relatively simple structure. They do not resemble the structure of a typical vertebra. The muscles of the buttocks are attached to the coccyx. It is commonly ...

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