Tendons connect muscle to bone and ligaments connect bone to bone; both are soft, collagenous, connective tissues. Ligaments and tendons are more susceptible to injury as the body ages because water content decreases. A strain is an injured or torn tendon, and a sprain is an injured or torn ligament.
The primary function of a tendon is to transmit force, and ligaments function to create stability in joints and to support internal organs.
Ligaments have a limited range of motion and are not elastic. Tendons are sensitive to compressions but respond well to tensile stress.
Ligaments are pliable and so can stretch which is why a dislocated joint must be put back in place quickly so the ligament does not stay in its lengthened position.
Tendon injuries are often the result of years of use though they may seem to occur suddenly. The mosty common tendon injuries are tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) or tendinosis (small tears in the tendon and surrounding tissue).
Maintaining Healthy Ligaments and Tendons
You can maintain healthy ligaments and tendons with gentle, gradual strength training and maintaining proper hydration.