Tendon (Bone to Muscle) ; Ligament (Bone to Bone) ; Fascia (Muscle to Internal Organs) : Differences YouTube Lecture Handouts

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Tendon (Bone to Muscle); Ligament (Bone to Bone); Fascia (Muscle to Internal Organs): Differences|NSO


Soft tissues composed primarily of collagen fibers


Fibers organized into parallel bundles to transmit tensile forces

Bone to Muscle

  • Tendons link muscles to bone. They anchor each muscle group to the bone with a grip so hard that when the muscle flexes, it pulls on the tendon and the bone it՚s actually anchored to bends with the force. This is why the skeleton also gets stronger and bone gets denser when we exercise vigorously.
  • Tendons respond slower to exercise than muscles so it takes longer to make them stronger but they also lose that strength more slowly so a tendon that has not been exercised for a month plus will not lose strength in quite the same rapid way that muscle, undergoing the same period of inactivity, would.
  • In tendons the bundles are nearly all oriented along the long axis


  • In ligaments, typically shorter than tendons, the bundles are also generally organized except for bends and twists at insertion sites to bone, e. g. , the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee
  • Ligaments link bone to bone. They are present at the joints of the wrist, knee, ankle shoulder and elbow as well as any other part of the body where one bone needs to be linked to another in order for the skeletal structure to be held together.
  • One of the properties ligaments have been called viscoelasticity. It means that they can change shape and elongate when under tension and they return to their original shape when the tension goes away.
  • They do not have a hard memory of their original shape which is why they can be trained to be more supple (which is what dancers, martial artists and gymnasts do when they train their joints to be more flexible) . It is also why it is necessary for a dislocated joint to be put back in as quickly as possible to avoid overstretching the ligaments and creating a weakness that will always be there.
  • Ligaments aid in joint stability during rest and movement and help prevent injury from hyperextension and hyperflexion (excessive movements) .


Sheet of fibrous tissue which encloses muscle

Muscle to Internal Organs

  • Fascia (the plural of which is fasciae) is the collagen matter that connects attaches, stabilizes, encloses, and separates muscles and other internal organs. It is usually classified into superficial fascia which is very near the surface of the skin, deep fascia which usually surrounds individual muscles and keeps them discreet from other organs in the body and visceral fascia which forms the supporting component for vital organs deeper in the body.
  • Fascia is a thin casing of connective tissue that surrounds and holds every organ, blood vessel, bone, nerve fiber and muscle in place


Tendon and Ligament
Bone to MuscleBone to Bone
Inelastic & whiteElastic & Yellow

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