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What Are Tendons & Ligaments Made Of?

Updated July 18, 2017

The human body's structure and movement are possible because of bones and muscles that are arranged for specific functions. The stability and precision of the musculoskeletal system come from specialised connective tissues called tendons, ligaments and fascia.

Fibrous Connective Tissue

There are many connective tissues in the body. The type usually referred to is "fibrous" connective tissue. Fibrous tissue is known for its tensile strength and is made up primarily of collagen fibres with minimal elasticity.

Tendons

Tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach muscle tissue to bones. Tendons and muscles work together in order to move the body. Although a small amount, tendons do have some elasticity to assist with injury prevention.

Ligaments

Ligaments are bands of fibrous connective tissue that attach bones to other bones. They provide stability to the bones and joints of the body. Since they do not attach to muscle, they don't contribute to movement and they have less elasticity than tendons.

Fascia

Fascia is fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle tissue. Fascia runs the length of most muscles for stability within the muscle and also forms wide bands called aponeuroses to assist in structure and stability. Examples of aponeuroses include the lower back and IT band.

Connective Tissue Damage

Due to the collagenous make-up of fibrous connective tissue, it contains no living cells and does not have a direct blood supply. This makes the healing process difficult and long as the body regenerates the tissue at a very slow pace. In many connective tissue injury cases, surgical reattachment is required.

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About the Author

Based in Las Vegas, Jared Jones' fitness experience includes being an educator, an athletic coach, and an individual and group trainer. His educational degrees include a B.S. in physical and health education, and an M.S. in human movement. He holds advanced specializations from the NASM in corrective exercise and performance enhancement. In addition, he teaches for World Intsructor Training Schools' personal training program.