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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Enthesis (plural: entheses) is the point at which a tendon or ligament[1] or muscle[2] inserts into bone, where the collagen fibers are mineralized and integrated into bone tissue. These insertion points are commonly called Sharpey's fibers.



There are two types:

  • Fibrous entheses
  • Fibrocartilaginous entheses

In a fibrous enthesis, the collagenous tendon or ligament directly attaches to the bone, whilst the fibrocartilaginous enthesis displays 4 zones during the transition from tendon/ligament to bone:

  • i) tendinous area displaying longitudinally oriented fibroblasts and a parallel arrangement of collagen fibres
  • ii) a fibrocartilaginous region of variable thickness where the structure of the cells changes to chondrocytes
  • iii) an abrupt transition from cartilaginous to calcified fibrocartilage - the so-called 'tidemark' or 'blue line'
  • iv) bone


A disease of the entheses is known as an "enthesopathy" or "enthesitis" and is characteristic of spondyloarthropathy but is present in other pathologies as well.

The enthesis is the primary site of anklosing spondylitis.


  1. ^ iii_1/e/enthesis article at GE's Medcyclopaedia
  2. ^ enthesis at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

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