Difference Between Ligaments And Tendons

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The body is made up of complex structures and networks which work together to ensure that it functions effectively. Among these is the musculoskeletal system which helps the body in movement. The musculoskeletal system comprises of mus-cles, bones and connective tissues. These connective tissues include ligaments, ten-dons, and calluses. Ligaments and tendons are often grouped together because they are associated with bones and muscles but they are actually different.

Ligaments and tendons are both fibrous connective tissues made up of collagen but they have different structures and serve different functions in the body. The main difference between ligaments and tendons is that ligaments connect bones to bones whereas tendons connect muscles to bones. Tendons may also connect muscles to other structures in the body for example the eyeballs. Lets look at ligaments and tendons individually so as to understand their differences.

Ligaments are stretchy bands of fibrous tissue which connect one bone to another. They hold bones together in a joint. Ligaments are made up of tough fibrous bun-dles comprising of collagenous fibres. They are also made up of spindle-shaped cells called fibrocytes.

Ligaments are slightly elastic to allow joints to stretch and consequently enable movement of locomotive parts of the body. Ligaments are not very elastic due to the arrangement of collagen fibres within them. Collagen fibres are arranged in a criss-cross pattern within ligaments so as to keep the ligaments stable and strengthen bone joints.

Ligaments help to stabilise the joints in between which they are found. In the joints, ligaments form a capsular sac which covers the ends of the articulating bones. Lig-aments also structurally consist of a lubricating membrane made up of synovial flu-id.

There are three main categories of ligaments namely articular ligaments, peritoneal ligaments, and fetal remnant ligaments. Articular ligaments are the tough and dense connective tissue which join bones together in a joint whereas peritoneal ligaments are connective tissues which form within and around the lining of the abdominal cavity. They appear as folds. Fetal remnant ligaments on their part refer to struc-tures which remain in the body after someone is born and develop over time into ligament-like structures.

Tendons are connective tissues which connect muscles to bones. Like ligaments, they are also made up of collagenous fibres. In addition to collagenous fibres, ten-dons are made up of glycosylated glycoproteins, a substance known as elastin, and minerals which include copper, calcium, and manganese.

Tendons have high tensile strength. This is because tendons have to withstand the tension from muscles. Tendons are also very elastic because of the parallel arrange-ment of collagen fibres in a tendon. Elasticity of tendons is necessary because mus-cles are often involved in a lot of movement.

Ligament injury
When ligaments receive too much force, they can overstretch leading to partial or complete tear. A torn ligament is also referred to as a sprain. According to medical experts, a sprain is most likely to occur in the wrist or ankle. Sprains may be ac-companied by bleeding, clotting of blood and inflammation at the place where the injury has taken place. Serious sprains require surgical treatment but cases which are not serious may heal by themselves after a while.

Tendon injury
Like in the case of ligaments, tendons can get torn if a force greater than that which they are able to withstand is exerted on them. Tendon injury is most likely to occur at the Achilli’s heels especially in athletes and other sportspeople. Tendon injury is accompanied by swelling and discomfort. Partial tears can heal with time but com-plete tears may require removal

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