Structure of skeletal muscle

Skeletal muscle is composed of muscle fibres arranged in bundles called fasciculi. Many bundles of fibres make up the complete muscle. The fibres, bundles and muscles are surrounded and protected by connective tissue sheaths.

Skeletal muscle fibres are long, thin multi-nucleated cells. These fibres are made up of even smaller protein threads called myofibrils. These run the whole length of the fibre and are the elements that contract and relax. Each myofibril is composed of actin and myosin protein threads that slide into each other so that the myofibril shortens. When these myofibrils shorten, the whole muscle contracts.

® The connective tissue around each fibre is called the endomysium. ® The connective tissue around each bundle is called the perimysium. ® The connective tissue around the muscle is called the epimysium.

Perimysium

Endomysium

Muscle fibres arranged in a fasciculus/bundle

Perimysium

Perimysium

A single myofibril

Figure 2.7 Construction of skeletal muscle.

Myofibril

A single myofibril

Figure 2.7 Construction of skeletal muscle.

Myofibril

Myosin ymmi-

Actin

If this connective tissue becomes tight or adheres to underlying structures, the muscle function is impaired. The petrissage movements and myofascial stretching techniques are very effective in freeing and stretching the tissue, allowing the muscle fibres to function normally.

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