Tendon versus Ligament

Although tendons and ligaments have a similar physiologic composition, they function in very different ways.


TENDON: A band of fibrous connective tissue that binds muscle to bone or other movable structure (such as an eyelid). Tendons provide muscles with the means to MOVE tissues to which they are attached, and therefore are necessary for normal locomotion.

A SPRAIN refers to a tendon injury.


LIGAMENT: A band of fibrous connective tissue that binds bone to bone or ligament to bone. Ligaments function to STABILIZE structures relative to one another, such as two bones on either side of a joint.

A STRAIN refers to a ligament injury.

Both ligaments and tendons are most susceptible to injury along the site of their bony attachment(s), known as the the fibro-osseous junction, where they are inherently the weakest.

Damage to the periosteum overlaying the bone is typically the most painful element of a sprain or strain. Other sources of pain (in order of average contribution) are ligaments, tendons, fascia (surrounding muscle) and muscle.

Many therapeutic modalities used to treat tendon and ligament injuries, such as SHOCK WAVE THERAPY and PROLOTHERAPY, focus on addressing tissue damage in the vicinity of the fibro-osseous junction, along which there is a change in tissue density.


The Atlanta Equine Clinic 1997-2016
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