Ligaments are what ties everything together. The human body is made out of soft tissue as well as bones and internal organs. Everything is bounded by connective tissue which is where the ligaments have an important role. They are made out of fibrous tissue which is why they are resistant and elastic. They serve as to connect the body, but also to make it more sustainable to movements.
Function Of Ligaments
There are more than 20 ligament types in the body, according to the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. The ligaments are present in every part of the body, including upper and lower extremities, abdomen, chest, back, pelvis, neck and also the head. Ligaments are there to hold the body parts together and keep everything in place in order to prevent any injuries. They can change the length and the size to some point, where everything above the limit can trigger an injury. There are several important functions of ligaments which you should know about.
Ligaments are elastic and they can elongate and stretch to a certain stage, where it can allow the body to bend and move. When moving, ligaments are there to protect the bones from contact and to absorb the stress which can be made upon the skeletal system. This can be crucial when bending or lifting a heavy object, so our spine could be at risk. Ligaments protect our spine and hold the vertebrae together in order to keep a movement steady and to minimize any harm from sudden posture changes.
Dictating The Range Of Motion
Since ligaments are keeping together all the structures and are controlling the movement of the body, this means they are also defining the range of every move. Every joint has its ligaments where they work synergistically in order to stabilize the movement and also to prevent any dislocations and to induce the direction of the movement.
Proprioception is the ability of the body to know the position of its parts. So, by controlling the movements of the body and by holding everything together and in the right posture, the ligaments participate in the proprioception. This is also important when doing any activity since the sudden movement or the uncontrolled movement can lead to an injury.
The Structure Of Ligaments
As we mentioned before, ligaments are part of connective tissue. They are made out of collagen. Collagen is the type of protein which can be found in skin, nails, and there are more than 20 types known to the present day. It creates a certain pattern and creates a cross forming shape which is strong and is capable of supporting a large force. This ensures that the body’s support tissue is strong enough to sustain any movement and stretch.
There are several types of injuries. The most common one is the sprain. This is due to overstretching the ligament, where it goes above the elastic limit and it won’t return to its natural length. This is usually common when a person doesn’t stretch before any heavy movement or it does a sudden move which stretches the tissue overboard. If the movement is beyond the sprain limit, it can even lead to tearing of the ligament. This can happen among athletes when they end up in sudden rotation or straining of the extremities.
One of the common ligaments that get injured is the ligament of the knee known as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) which can be torn when the knee gets out of its place in some sudden movement. This kind of an injury can be more serious than others for athletes since it needs more time to heal due to poor circulation around the knee area.
Over the time, and with repetition of the ligament injury, the ligaments can strain permanently and become weaker. The joint that they participate in can become weaker as well, leading to frequent sprain and structure dislocation. Some may need immobilization, but at a certain point, heavy injuries may require surgery.
Tendons vs Ligaments
Tendons and ligaments both belong to connective tissue, but there is one important difference. The tendons attach the muscles to the bones, thus, they represent the ending of the muscles. The ligaments attach bones to each other. Since the tendons are the origins of the muscles, they are responsible for moving the bones. The ligaments are there to give the stability and to hold everything together.