What Is The Difference Between Ligament And Tendon?

This post did not only discuss the question of what is the difference between ligament and tendon. It went further detailing all you need to know about tendon and ligament.

Ligaments are like intersecting bands that join bone to bone and helps to stabilize the joints. The anterior cruciate ligament that joins the thighbone to the shinbone is an example. It stabilizes the knee joint.

difference between tendon and ligament

The tendons, on the other hand, is located at each end of a muscle. It joins muscle to the bone. Tendons are seen in every part of the body.  It can be found right from the head to neck and all through to the feet. The largest tendon in the body is known as Achilles. Its job is to connect the calf muscle to the heel bone. The shoulder is aided to rotate forward and backward by the rotator cuff tendons.

Difference Between Ligament and Tendon

Definition of Tendons

Tendons connect parts of the body because they are the fibrous connective tissue. The tissue is very strong and flexible. The tendons act as the interconnectivity tissue between the structures of the body.

The tendon can sometimes get torn as a result of overstretching its capacity, and this is called tendonitis. This leads to inflammation of the area where the tendons got damage. This usually results in soreness, swelling and temporary loss of function of the muscles.

What Does tendonitis Mean?

Tendonitis, however, is another tendon injury responsible for an inflammation of the tendon. This kind of situation can happen as a result of the natural aging process. Naturally, tendons also become weak as we age, becoming more prone to stress and injury.

Tendonitis can also show-up when the tendon is overused. Athletes often experience tendonitis, especially on their shoulders. They include golfers and baseball pitchers.

Some of the tendonitis symptoms include pain in the movement of the muscle and swelling too. Warmness may be felt within the affected muscle when touched.

Definition of Ligaments

Ligaments are another kind of connective tissue. The ligaments are structured to connect bones, and they are strong and very elastic. As such, they work as connectors that join the ends of bones at the joints. These joints enable all kind of simple to complex motions.

Ligaments have different shapes and sizes that give support and strength also stabilizes the joints. When there is a stretch that is more than the ligament can go, the tissue suffers damage or tear. The tearing damage of the ligament is much worse than that of the tendon. This is because it weakens the joints between the bones.

The primary function of the ligament is to join one bone to another bone at the joints. Usually, the injuries of the ligament as a result of strains or sudden forces exerted on ligaments, that causes a rupture.

There are categories of ligaments, these include, peritoneal ligaments, fetal remnant ligaments, and articular ligaments.

Peritoneal ligaments typically form the lining of the abdominal cavity, through the connective tissue structure.

Fetal remnant ligaments exist as fetus forms. Articular ligaments are primarily responsible for connecting one bone to another.

A Comparison Chart of Difference between Ligament and Tendon

Definition Tendon has a basic function of connecting muscles to the bone.  It is also present at the end of skeletal muscles. They are non-elastic fibrous connective tissue. Ligaments however, connects one bone to another bone and are located in the joints. These kind of connective tissue are stronger and flexible. They aid in movements of the bones.
Nature Tendons are inelastic and very strong. Ligaments are elastic in nature and strong.
Fibres In Tendons fibres are present as compact parallel bundles. Fibres are packed compactly and are not arranged in parallel bundles.
Fibroblasts Fibroblasts is rested in continuous rows in tendon. While in ligaments, fibroblasts are scattered.
Form Tendons are formed with white fibrous connective tissue. In the case of ligaments, they are formed with yellow fibrous connective tissue.
It joins Tendons function is to connect the end of the muscles to any place of the bone. Ligaments connect bones to bones at joints.
Classification There is no classification. They are in three categories. Namely, peritoneal ligaments, fetal remnant ligaments, and articular ligaments.

How Ligaments and Tendons work?

Ligaments can be considered as rope, which has a series of strong and intertwined cords that binds bones. Its elastic fibers allow the joint to move, but it does not move beyond its capacity.

The knee joint is made up of four major ligaments. It has one on each side of the knee, while the other two run diagonally across the front and back of the kneecap. These ligaments aid the knee to stabilize and also keeps it from moving too far to the left or right, forward or backward.

Tendons, on the other hand, are also very strong cords. The attached tendon on the bone pulls the bone into movement as a muscle contract. An example is a movement that takes place on bicep when you bend your elbow. Tendons as well, assist to absorb some of the impact muscles as they spring into action.

The Injuries That Are Commonly Seen in Ligaments And Tendons?

  1. Ligament

When there is overstretching or tear on the ligament, it results in into a sprain. Usually, most sprains do happen suddenly. This may be due to a fall, awkward movement, or blow.

Sprains normally take place in the ankle, knee, or wrist. An example is when a misstep happens it can cause a twisting of your ankle in an awkward position. Subsequently, it snaps a ligament and causes your ankle to be unstable or wobbly. It is possible that you might hear a pop or feel a tear when the injury occurs. The wrist can also be sprained when you extend your hand to break a fall. The wrist in this condition is likely to hyperextend back. The action of hyperextension usually overstretches the ligament.

Symptoms of a sprained ligament generally include pain, swelling, and bruising in the affected area. The joint may likely feel loose or weak and may not be able to bear weight also. The level of symptoms will vary depending on whether the ligament is overextended or actually torn.

Sprains are classified into grades by doctors. However, a mild sprain with a slight stretch of the ligament is classified as grade one. While the unstable joint caused by a complete tear of the ligament is classified as grade three.

  1. Tendon

A torn or overstretched tendon is known as a strain. Most regions affected by strains are the leg, foot, and back.

Strains of the tendon are often due to habitual movements and athletics. In this regard, athletes who overstrain their bodies are more likely to be at risk. Especially, if they have no adequate time for rest and muscle repair in between workout sessions are at increased risk.

Some of the symptoms of a sprain are pain and swelling, and you may also experience muscle cramping and weakness.

Some Ways to Treat Tendon And Ligament Injuries

It can be very difficult to differentiate between a ligament or tendon injury on your own. Proper diagnoses to identify if you are having a tendon or ligament injury can only be effectively done by the doctor. So whenever you experience pain and swelling, see your doctor for a skilled diagnosis and effective treatment plan.

Generally, whether the injury is a strain or a sprain, it is advisable to go for immediate treatment. The doctors may recommend:

  • A rest: The body, especially the affected part needs to be rested to allow healing of the muscle. This may be easier with the use of fixation braces and crutches if needed.
  • Use of Ice: Normally, wrapping ice in a towel and placing it on the injured area helps to protect the skin. It should be done for 20 minutes at a time, several times a day, while you recover.
  • Compression. Wearing a compression bandage will help to reduce the swelling. The bandage is to be wrapped around tightly, but not uncomfortably tight.
  • Elevation. The injured part of your body needs to be kept higher above your heart as may be required. This can help reduce swelling and promote healing.
  • Medication. According to doctor’s prescription, over-the-counter anti-inflammatories and pain relievers, taken as needed, may help reduce your pain and swelling.

Preventing Sprains and Strains

Some injuries can be prevented while some others cannot. Injuries like sudden stumbles and whacking your knee on a dashboard during a car accident, are often not preventable. However, others are. The following precautions may be taken to protect your tendons and ligaments:

Warming up before exercising. It is advisable to do light aerobic activities to warm up your body for about 10 minutes before exercising. You can walk a lap or two before you run around a track.

It is important to start out slowly and build gradually. This also enables warming up of your muscles.

Wearing sports shoes that fit well is best. Especially the ones that are made for the sport you are playing.

Maintaining a healthy weight is another way of preventing sprains and strains.

Vary your routine. You need to get a good balance of cardio exercise, as well as strength training.

Taking a day off after an intense workout session will be fine, or at least switch to a different activity. Relaxation can help you reduce your risk for overstressing the same ligaments and tendons.

You need to listen to your body: You need to observe and understand your body needs. If you feel pains or tired, relax. Most injuries occur when your body is already overtired or stressed.

Stretch: Stretching after exercise is recommended by most experts when your body is warm and more pliable. A stretch need not be held for more than 10 to 20 seconds and each stretch should be only once. It is not advisable to bounce or stretch to the point of pain.

What Is The Difference Between Ligament And Tendon – Wrap Up

If you are a student, it is obvious that we have done our best by providing an answer to your question, what is the difference between ligament and tendon.

Share this article