Tendon vs. Ligament: What's the Difference?

Key Difference

An adult human body consists of 206 bones, these bones can either be movable or non-movable it solely depends upon the interconnector along with it and the function it has to perform.  These interconnectors are most primarily known as the connective tissues; they are made up of cells, fibers, and extracellular matrix. Major functions they perform are; protection of organs, energy storage, body tissue connector, and help in moving and other such tasks. Tendon and ligaments are two of the connective tissues that perform above mentioned several functions in the body. Both of them are the fibrous structures that is why people found it difficult to differentiate. The main difference between both these fibrous interconnector is that ligament connects bone to a bone, whereas tendon joins muscle to a bone.

Comparison Chart

Tendon Ligament
Main Function Tendons are the fibrous interconnectors that join muscle with bone. Ligaments are the fibrous interconnectors that attach bone to another bone at joints.
Toughness & Elasticity Tendons are tougher as compared to the ligaments. Ligaments are more elastic than the tendons.
Injuries The common injuries associated with tendons are tenosynovitis, avulsion, and tendinitis. The common injuries associated with ligaments are sprains and torn ligaments.
Formation Tendons are the modification of the white fibrous tissues. The interconnector ligament is primarily formed with yellow elastic tissue modification along with collagen fibers.
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What is Tendon?

Tendon is the fibrous connective tissue that connects bone to muscle. They are less flexible as compared to the ligaments but are way tougher than them. As mentioned above these tendon work as the interconnector and mediator between bones and muscle, they hold them together and allow them to move and perform different functions required within the body. Tendons also keep coordination between the muscle and bones as with stretching one relaxes, and other tightens. They are the modification of the white fibrous tissues. Usually, they get arranged in the form of parallel bundles, so they could get thick and avoid the external force. They also possess elasticity, but to some extent as they are the tougher structures. One of the basic examples tendons is the Achilles’ tendon; it connects calf muscle to the heel.  The common injuries associated with tendons are tenosynovitis, avulsion, and tendinitis.

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What is Ligament?

Ligaments are the fibrous connective tissues that connect bone to bone at joints. They are quite flexible and have a certain amount of endurance and elasticity in the body. Athletes, gymnasts, and dancers have special practice or have elasticity in their ligaments naturally, so they could perform different tasks without having an injury.  The stretching of ligaments is a kind of their warm-up before they go with their task, and that is done to prevent any injury to the ligament or the bones. Ligaments can further be classified into three types; peritoneal ligament, articular ligament, and fetal remnant ligaments. The common injuries associated with ligaments are sprains and torn ligaments. The interconnector ligament is primarily formed with yellow elastic tissue modification along with collagen fibers.

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Tendon vs. Ligament

  • Tendons are the fibrous interconnectors that join muscle with bone, whereas Ligaments are the fibrous interconnectors that attach bone to another bone at joints.
  • Tendons are tougher as compared to the ligaments, on the other hand, ligaments are more elastic than the tendons.
  • The common injuries associated with tendons are tenosynovitis, avulsion, and tendinitis while the common injuries associated with ligaments are sprains and torn ligaments.
  • Tendons are the modification of the white fibrous tissues, on the other hand, the interconnector ligament is primarily formed with yellow elastic tissue modification along with collagen fibers.

Explanatory Video

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