Difference Between Tendon vs. Ligament

Main Difference

The key difference between tendon and ligament is that the tendon is the connective tissue that connect muscles to the bones while ligament is the connective tissue that connect bones to bones.

Tendon vs. Ligament

Human beings have a well developed and properly organised structure. There are 206 bones in the human skeleton. Our body has specific connective tissues that connect these bones. Tendons and Ligaments both are the forms of these connective tissues that are present at joints. Both tendon and ligaments are made up of fibrous connective tissues, but there is a number of differences that exist between them. Tendons are the fibrous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones while ligaments are the fibrous connective tissues that attach bones to bones at the joints. Tendons are tough and inelastic while ligaments are strong and elastic. Tendons are composed of white fibrous connective tissues while ligaments are composed of yellow fibrous connective tissues. In tendons, fibres are arranged in parallel bundles whereas ligaments have compactly arranged fibres that do not have parallel bundles.

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

BasisTendonLigament
Main FunctionTendons are the fibrous interconnectors that join muscle with bone.Ligaments are the fibrous interconnectors that attach bone to another bone at joints.
Toughness & ElasticityTendons are tougher as compared to the ligaments.Ligaments are more elastic than the tendons.
InjuriesThe common injuries associated with tendons are tenosynovitis, avulsion, and tendinitis.The common injuries associated with ligaments are sprains and torn ligaments.
FormationTendons are the modification of the white fibrous tissues.The interconnector ligament is primarily formed with yellow elastic tissue modification along with collagen fibers.

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.

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.

Tendon vs. Ligament

  • Tendon is a form of fibrous connective tissues that connect muscle to the bone while ligament is that form of fibrous connective tissues that connect bones to bones.
  • Tendon is composed of white fibrous connective tissues whereas ligament is composed of yellow fibrous connective tissues.
  • Fibres are arranged in parallel bundles in tendons, but ligaments have compactly arranged bundles of fibres.
  • Fibroblasts lie in continuous rows in tendons while they are scattered in ligaments.
  • Tendons are tough and inelastic in nature, but ligaments are strong and inelastic.
  • Tendons are less flexible in nature while ligaments are more flexible .
  • An injury in the tendon is known as a strain while an injury in the ligament is known as a sprain.
  • Tendon is not divided into any type while ligaments are further divided into fetal remnant ligaments, peritoneal ligaments and articular ligaments.
  • A tendon may also connect muscles to structures such as the eyeball while a ligament may also attach a bone to another bone.

Comparison Video

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