Difference Between Ligaments and Tendons

The most apparent difference between ligaments and tendons is that tendons join bone to a skeletal muscle and ligaments join bone to another bone. Both of these issues have a particular type of cell called Fibroblast that forms the structural framework for connective tissues.

Difference Between Ligaments and Tendons

Tendons are strong and non-flexible while ligaments are flexible and elastic. Both play a vital role in joints and bones and are composed of living cells. They contain plenty of collagen.

Difference Between Tendon and Ligament

Tendons and Ligaments are an integral part of locomotion in all higher organisms. The important differences between ligaments and tendons are summarized in the table below:



Connects skeletal muscles to bones Connects bones to bones
Tough and elastic Elastic
Connects the end of the muscles to bones Connects the end of the bones at joints
Each muscle contains only one tendon. Each joint contains many ligaments
Proteoglycan content is low Proteoglycan content is comparatively more
White in colour Yellow in colour
Blood supply is poor Blood supply is just as poor
Fibroblasts lie in a continuous row Fibroblasts are scattered
The fibres are compact and present in parallel bundles They are not arranged in parallel bundles but are compactly packed
No such classification They are classified into three types, namely: Articular ligaments, Remnant ligaments and Peritoneal ligaments


Blood, specialized cells (WBCs and platelets) and its vessels are key components to healing when the body has an injury. Blood vessels transport nutrients and oxygen that helps to accelerate the healing process. However, tendons and ligament lack blood vessels, hence appear white when compared to muscles. This is also the reason tendons and ligaments take a long time to heal when they are injured.

In conclusion, tendons and ligaments are a crucial part of the skeletal system and are integral for locomotion. And even though both are structurally different, they play a significant function in the movement of vertebrates.

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Related links

Human Anatomy: Skeleton
Joints: Types And Examples

Frequently Asked Questions


How is a tendon different from a ligament?

Tendons are cord-like structures that transmit muscular force to a bone. On the contrary, ligaments are the structures that connect a bone to a bone.


What is a ligament?

A ligament is a fibrous connective tissue that connects bones to other bones. They are elastic with a poor blood supply. They appear as criss-cross bands.


What is a tendon?

A tendon is a tough fibrous connective tissue that connects muscle to bone. Tendons have many functions from passively modulating forces during locomotion to providing additional stability with no active work. The largest and the strongest tendon in the human body is the Achilles tendon. It is also the thickest tendon in the human body.


How is a tendon different from a nerve?

A tendon is a bundle of inelastic fibrous tissues that connects a muscle to a bone, whereas a nerve is a bundle of neurons with blood vessels, connective tissue sheaths, and lymphatics.


What is a tendon tear?

A tendon tear is a condition in which a tendon separates in whole or in part from the tissue to which it is attached.

Also Read: Tissues

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