14 Muscular System

Topic: Muscular System

Text Reference: Chapter 14. Muscular System

Objectives: Students should be able to…

Identify meanings of key word components of the muscular system


a- (absence of, without)

ab- (away from)

ad- (towards)

dys- (painful, difficult, abnormal, labored)

hyper- (above, excessive)

inter- (between)

intra- (within, in)

poly- (many, much)

sub- (below, under)

supra- (above)

sym- (together, joined)

syn- (together, joined)

Combining Forms

ankyl/o (stiff or bent)

fasci/o fascia (forms sheaths enveloping muscles)

fibr/o (fibrous connective tissue)

kinesi/o (movement, motion)

kyph/o (hump)

lamin/o lamina (thin, flat plate or layer)

leimy/o (smooth [viseral] muscle that lines the walls of internal organs)

my/o (muscle)

myocardi/o (heart muscle)

myos/o (muscle)

plant/o (sole of the foot)

rhabdomy/o (skeletal [striated] muscle connected to bones)

sarc/o (flesh, connective tissue)

ten/o (tendon)

tendin/o (tendon)

tend/o (tendon)


-al (pertaining to)

-algia (pain)

-ar (pertaining to)

-asthenia (weakness)

-centesis (surgical puncture to aspirate fluid)

-desis (surgical fixation, fusion)

-ectomy (excision, surgical removal, cutting out)

-gram (the record, radiographic image)

-graphy (process of recording, radiographic imaging)

-ic (pertaining to)

-itis (inflammation)

-lysis (loosening, separating, dissolution)

-oid (resembling)

-oma (tumor)

-osis (abnormal condition)

-penia (abnormal reduction)

-physis (growth)

-plasty (surgical repair)

-rrhaphy (suturing, repairing)

-sarcoma (malignant tumor)

-schisis (split, fissure)

-scopy (process of viewing, visual examination)

-tome (instrument used to cut)

-tomy (incision, cut into)

-trophy (nourishment, development)

Apply the rules of medical language to pronounce, break into word parts, and define the following terms.

Label each word part by using the following abbreviations:

P = Prefix
WR = Word Root
CV = Combining Vowel
S = Suffix
CF = Combining Form

Example: osteoarthropathy (ä-stē-ō-är-THROP-ă-thē) – disease of bone and joint

WR     CV    WR     CV     S

oste / o / arthr / o /pathy

     CF               CF

Practice pronouncing and defining these commonly abbreviated muscular terms.

ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)

AROM (active range of motion)

BKA (below knee amputation)

BMD (bone mineral density)

Ca (Calcium)

CK (creatine kinase)

CTS (carpal tunnel syndrome)

DC (Doctor of Chiropractic)

DEXA or DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry)

DO (Doctor of Osteopathy)

EMG (Electromyogram)

ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate)

IM (intramuscular)

MD (Muscular Dystrophy)

MG (myasthenia gravis)

NSAID (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, pronounced en-said)

OA (osteoarthritis)

Ortho (orthopedics)

OT (occupational therapist)

P (pulse)

PT (physical therapist)

RA (rheumatoid arthritis)

ROM (range of motion)

THR (total hip replacement)

TKR (total knee replacement)

TMJ (temporomandibular joint)

Sort the terms from the word lists above into the following categories.

  • Disease and Disorder (terms describing any deviation from normal structure and function)
  • Diagnostic (terms related to process of identifying a disease, condition, or injury from its signs and symptoms)
  • Therapeutic (terms related to treatment or curing of diseases)
  • Anatomic (terms related to body structure)

Use terms related to the muscular system.

Place the following medical terms in context to complete the scenario below.

arthrodesis | atrophy | clumsiness | CTS | flexion | ligament | median | metacarpal | numbness | osteoarthritis | tenorrhaphy | tingling



AGE: 65
SEX: Female
DOB: June 29

REASON FOR REFERRAL: Evaluation and consideration for surgery for treating carpal tunnel syndrome.

Dear Dr. Porter

I am referring Mrs. Jones for evaluation and consideration for surgery for treating ________. Mrs. Jones is 65 years old. She has moved to this area 2 years ago and I have been her primary care physician since then. Recently she has been complaining of ________, tingling, burning, and pain in her right hand, primarily in the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Occasionally the pain and ________ travel up the forearm toward her shoulder. The patient reports that the pain and unusual sensations have started gradually and worsened over the past couple of years.

The patient has worked as a data entry clerk at a pharmaceutical company for 35 years. Her work involved sitting at her desk and typing on a computer for an average of 7 hours on each workday. She is retired now. The patient reports that during the past few months she has also felt weakness and ________ in her hand, and this has made her everyday life difficult. She can tell that her grip is not as strong as before since she frequently drops things. Now she is finding the simple tasks such as buttoning her clothes, cutting vegetables, and brushing her teeth challenging. The x-ray of the right hand and wrist shows clear signs of ________ and osteoporosis of carpal and ________ bones. On visual examination there is no muscle ________. The wrist has limited ________ and extension range of motion.

It is important to note that the patient had been in a car accident in her teenage years and had suffered from a compact fracture of her left wrist bones. Multiple surgeries, including arthroplasty and ________, were done to restore the functionality of the left wrist and hand. Eventually, her orthopedic surgeon performed a subtotal ________ of the wrist to provide a stable and pain-free joint with a limited useful range of motion.

Based on the aforementioned observations and findings I have determined that Mrs. Jones is a fit candidate for CTS surgery. A proper cut in the transverse carpal ________ would release the pressure off the ________ nerve and relieve the symptoms.

Thank you for seeing Mrs. Jones. Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or comments you may have concerning her care. Also, please keep me updated on her progress and kindly refer her back to my care once her condition resolves.

Trevor Sharpe, MD, Family Medicine

Test your knowledge by answering the questions below.

Muscle that is associated with the walls of internal organs and is responsible for involuntary muscle movement is called…

  1. Skeletal muscle
  2. Cardiac muscle
  3. Smooth muscle

Paralysis that effects one side of the body is called…

  1. Paraplegia
  2. Paresis
  3. Hemiplegia

An injury to a joint whereby a ligament is stretched or torn is called…

  1. A sprain
  2. A strain
  3. Fibromyalgia

Myasthenia Gravis is…

  1. Grave or serious muscle weakness
  2. Pain in the fibrous tissues of muscles
  3. Partial paralysis wherein there is still some control of the muscles

Skeletal muscle is responsible for…

  1. Involuntary muscle movement
  2. Voluntary muscle movement
  3. Pumping blood


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Medical Terminology Student Companion Copyright © 2022 by Stacey Grimm; Colleen Allee; Heidi Belitz; Traci Gotz; Micheal Randolph; Elaine Strachota; and Laurie Zielinski is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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