Biology » Animal Systems » Musculoskeletal Tissues

Tendons and Ligaments

Tendons and Ligaments

Tendon and ligaments are dense bands of dense connective tissue. Ligaments join bone to bone, and tendons join muscles to bone. An example of a ligament is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) of the knee, and an example of a tendon is the Achilles tendon, which attaches your calf muscle to your heel. Tendons and ligaments are similar structures, but they have some important differences, which are summarised in the table below.

Comparison of Ligaments and Tendons

LigamentsTendons

join bone to bone

attach muscles to bones

consist of white collagen fibres and a network of yellow elastic fibres

consist of non elastic collagen fibres which give tendons a white shiny appearance

strong collagen fibres prevent dislocation at joints, and yellow elastic fibres allow flexibility at the joint

parallel arrangement of strong collagen fibres in order to efficiently convert muscle contraction into movement of the skeleton

 

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