Difference Between Tendon and Ligament

Tendons and Ligaments are responsible for every minor movement in the human body. They are the connective tissues that enable locomotion in the human body.


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They are made up of an enormous amount of collagen fibres. Tendon is said to act as a mediator as it connects the end part of a muscle to a bone.

Whenever an injury occurs in the tendon and ligament, it takes much more time in order to heal. Lack of blood vessels presents in these connective tissues due to which the required nutrients, to heal an injury, can’t be reached at the site of damage.

Key Takeaways

  1. Tendons and ligaments are both types of connective tissue in the body.
  2. Tendons connect muscle to bone and transmit the force of muscle contraction to the bone.
  3. Ligaments connect bone to bone and provide stability and support to joints.

Tendon vs Ligament

Tendon and Ligament differ because the tendon joins a bone to a skeletal muscle. However, the ligament is only responsible for the joining of two bones. Tendons are stiff and inelastic in nature, while ligaments are found to have elasticity and flexibility in it. Both the tendons and ligaments are comprised of living cells.

Tendon vs Ligament

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Both fall under the category of Dense Granular Connective Tissues. Without these, the human body cannot properly work the muscular and skeletal systems.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonTendonLigament
DefinitionTendons are responsible for connecting muscles to a bone.Ligaments are the connective tissues that act as a connection between two bones.
NatureTendons are not elastic and sturdy in nature.Ligaments are elastic and stronger and enable a bone to move.
Form of FibresParallel bundles of fibres, which are compact, are found to be present in tendons.Here, in ligaments, the fibres are found to be packed compactly. However, fiber bundles arranged in a parallel manner can’t be found here.
ClassificationTendons are not classified any further.Ligaments are classified into three different types, namely fetal remnant ligaments, articular ligaments, and peritoneal ligaments.
CompositionWhite fibrous connective tissueYellow fibrous connective tissue


What is Tendon?

Tendon is a type of connective tissue that is responsible for connecting muscles to other parts of the human body, usually bones. Through tendons, muscles’ mechanical force is transmitted to the bones.

Tendons are highly strong connective tissues in comparison to other soft tissues found in our bodies. The composition of tissues in tendon fibres, along with their parallel orientation, is what provides them with the great strength.

A tendon is made up of dense fibrous connective tissues. These dense tissues are composed of collagen fibres.

Many collagen fibrils join together in order to make primary collagen fibres, which are considered the most basic unit of a tendon.

These primary collagen fibres bundle up to make subfamilies that bundle up again in order to make fascicles. Now, tertiary fibre bundles are made by the grouping of these fascicles.

These tertiary fibre bundles get bunched up in order to form a tendon.

Tendons contain two types of primary cells, namely fibrocytes and fibroblasts. Fibroblasts are also called tenoblasts, and they are immature spindle-shaped cells.

Fibrocytes, also known as tenocytes, possess a spindle-shaped structure.


What is Ligament?

A ligament is a connective tissue that is known to join two different bones together. It is rigid and elastic in nature.

This tissue provides support to your joints and also restricts their movement.

Ligaments are present in the human body at positions like elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders, and various other joints. Any damage to the ligaments will make your joints unstable.

If your ligament faces an injury, the healing process takes a lot of time as there are very few blood vessels present in ligaments and tendons.

Due to the lack of vessels, the required nutrients and oxygen, which is responsible for the elevation of the healing process, are not able to reach the site of injury. Sometimes, in order to repair the damage, physical therapy or surgery is also considered.

Ligaments are of two kinds. One is a white ligament, which has collagen fibres in an ample amount. The other is the yellow ligament, which is found to be quite rich in elastic fibres.

The yellow ligaments are found to provide elasticity even after being tough in nature.

You might also have heard of the sprain. This is something that gets caused by an overstretched ligament.


Main Differences Between Tendon and Ligament

  1. Tendons are found to connect muscles to bone. They are located at the very end of muscles joining it to any bone.
    Ligaments are responsible for the joining of two bones with each other in the body.
  2. Tendons are quite tough and inelastic in nature. However, ligaments are also durable, along with possessing elasticity.
  3. Fibres in tendons are found to be present in parallel bundles that are compact in nature. However, in ligaments, fibres are packed in a compact manner but with no parallel orientation in them.
  4. Tendons are not divided in any subcategory, whereas ligaments are categorized in 3 forms – fetal remnant ligaments, articular ligaments, and peritoneal ligaments.
  5. White fibrous connective tissues form tendons. Ligaments are formed of yellow fibrous connective tissues.
Difference Between Tendon and Ligament
  1. https://journals.lww.com/jbjsjournal/Abstract/1970/52010/Tendon_and_Ligament_Insertion__A_LIGHT_AND.1.aspx
  2. https://www.jci.org/articles/view/119537/files/pdf
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