Differences between Tendons and Ligaments (Full Details)

The fibrous connective tissues made of collagen fiber are tendon and ligament. Because of their high tensile strength and these fibers, tendons and ligaments are important components of musculoskeletal biomechanics. Additionally, these fibrous bands of connective tissues actively work to keep the skeleton stable and help us move.

Despite the fact that the two tissues differ greatly, the fascicles found in tendons and ligaments assist in sustaining injury. Tendons lack flexibility yet are rather strong. Ligaments, on the other hand, connect one bone to another and are soft and flexible. To learn more about the distinctions between the two, let’s explore the article below.

Tendon and Ligament

What Is A Tendon?

A tendon is the tough connective tissue that links muscles to bones to make movement easier. These soft connective tissues typically exhibit qualities of flexibility and toughness.

These tissues can occasionally become ripped when they are stretched past their breaking point, which causes inflammation in the affected area. This problem is called tendonitis.

Some common signs of tendonitis are swelling, pain, and a temporary loss of muscle function.

Overall, tendons help both humans and animals move their bones and muscles better.

What Is A Ligament?

A ligament is a piece of connective tissue that holds two bones together. It is strong and can stretch. This tissue supports your joints and limits how much they can move.

Ligaments are found in places like the elbows, knees, ankles, shoulders, and other joints in the body. If your ligaments get hurt, your joints will be less stable.

If your ligament gets hurt, it will take a long time to heal because there aren’t many blood vessels in ligaments and tendons.

Because there aren’t enough blood vessels, the nutrients and oxygen needed to speed up the healing process can’t get to the injury site. Sometimes, in order to repair the damage, physical therapy or surgery is also considered.

There are two kinds of ligaments. One is a white ligament, which has a lot of collagen fibers. The other ligament is the yellow one, which has a lot of elastic fibers. Even though they are tough, the yellow ligaments are found to be flexible.

You may also be familiar with the sprain. This happens when a ligament gets too stretched out.

Comparison Table Between Tendon and Ligament

Basic TermsTendonLigament
MeaningTendons are what connect muscles to bones.Ligaments are the connective tissues between bones that hold them together.
NatureTendons are not naturally stretchy and strong.Ligaments are strong and flexible, and they allow bones move.
Proteoglycan contentLessmore
Nature of FibersTendons are made up of parallel bundles of fibers that are close together.Here, in the ligaments, the fibers are all close together. But there aren’t any bundles of fibers that are lined up in parallel here.
ClassificationNo classesThere are three different kinds of ligaments, which are called fetal remnant ligaments, articular ligaments, and peritoneal ligaments.
Made ofWhite fibrous connective tissueYellow fibrous connective tissue

Key Differences Between Tendon and Ligament

  • Ligaments connect one bone to another, while tendons connect muscles to bones.
  • Ligaments are strong and stretchy, while tendons are hard and stiff.
  • Ligaments are made of yellow fibrous connective tissue, while tendons are made of white tissue.
  • Fibroblasts in tendons tend to be in a steady flow, while fibroblasts in ligaments are more spread out.
  • In tendons, the fibers are close together and arranged in parallel bundles. In ligaments, the fibers are close together but not in parallel bundles.
  • Blood flow is good in tendons, but it is not so good in ligaments.
  • There are three types of ligaments: articular ligaments, remnant ligaments, and peritoneal ligaments. Tendons, on the other hand, don’t have these three types.
  • At the end of skeletal muscles are tendons, and around the joints are ligaments.
  • In comparison to injuries to tendons, ligament injuries are much more dangerous.
  • There are many ligaments in each joint, but there is usually only one tendon per muscle.
  • Less proteoglycan is found in tendons, while more is found in ligaments.
  • Less collagen is found in ligaments, while more is found in tendons.
  • In ligaments, the fibers are packed together, but in tendons, they are laid out in parallel lines.
  • Ligaments are more flexible than tendons, which are less so.
Difference Between Tendon and Ligament


  • There is connective tissue in both.
  • Both have thick, granular connective tissue.
  • Both are made up of cells.
  • Both have collagen in them.
  • Both are part of the musculoskeletal system.
  • Both are likely to get hurt.
  • Both provide structure and flexibility


We consider both terms to be crucial for the skeletal system of a human. Tendons and ligaments, which are made of thick collagen fiber layers, will continue to be part of the musculoskeletal system despite their many distinct characteristics.