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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ligament
Knee diagram.svg
Diagram of the right knee.
Latin ligamenta

In anatomy, the term ligament is used to denote three different types of structures:[1]

  1. Fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. They are sometimes called "articular larua"[2], "fibrous ligaments", or "true ligaments".
  2. A fold of peritoneum or other membranes
  3. The remnants of a tubular structure from the fetal period of life

The first meaning is most commonly what is meant by the term "ligament". After briefly discussing the other two types of ligaments, the remainder of this article will focus upon the first type.

The study of ligaments is known as desmology (from Greek δεσμός, desmos, "string"; and -λογία, -logia).

Contents

Peritoneal ligaments

Certain folds of peritoneum are referred to as ligaments.

Examples include:

Fetal remnant ligaments

Certain tubular structures from the fetal period are referred to as ligaments after they close up and turn into cord-like structures:

Fetal Adult
ductus arteriosus ligamentum arteriosum
extra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical vein ligamentum teres hepatis (the "round ligament of the liver").
intra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical vein (the ductus venosus) ligamentum venosum
distal portions of the fetal left and right umbilical arteries medial umbilical ligaments

Articular ligaments

Diagrammatic section of a symphysis.

In its most common use, a ligament is a band of tough, fibrous dense regular connective tissue comprising attenuated collagenous fibers. Ligaments connect bones to other bones to form a joint. They do not connect muscles to bones; that is the function of tendons. Some ligaments limit the mobility of articulations, or prevent certain movements altogether.

Capsular ligaments are part of the articular capsule that surrounds synovial joints. They act as mechanical reinforcements. Extra-capsular ligaments join together and provide joint stability. Intra-capsular ligaments, which are much less common, also provide stability but permit a far larger range of motion. Cruciate ligaments occur in pairs.

Ligaments are elastic; when under tension, they gradually lengthen, unlike tendons which are inelastic. This is one reason why dislocated joints must be set as quickly as possible: if the ligaments lengthen too much, then the joint will be weakened, becoming prone to future dislocations. Athletes, gymnasts, dancers, and martial artists perform stretching exercises to lengthen their ligaments, making their joints more supple. The term double-jointed refers to people who have more elastic ligaments, allowing their joints to stretch and contort further. The medical term for describing such double-jointed persons is hyperlaxity and double-jointed is a synonym of hyperlax.

The consequence of a broken ligament can be instability of the joint. Not all broken ligaments need surgery, but if surgery is needed to stabilise the joint, the broken ligament can be repaired. Scar tissue may prevent this. If it is not possible to fix the broken ligament, other procedures such as the Brunelli Procedure can correct the instability. Instability of a joint can over time lead to wear of the cartilage and eventually to osteoarthritis.

Examples

Knee

Head and neck

Pelvis

Thorax

Wrist

See also

References

  1. ^ ligament at eMedicine Dictionary
  2. ^ ligament at Dorland's Medical Dictionary

External links

ligaments attach bone to bone


1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

'LIGAMENT (Lat. ligamentu;r, from ligare, to bind), anything which binds or connects two or more parts; in anatomy a piece of tissue connecting different parts of an organism '(see CON Nective Tissues and Joints).


<< Lifford

Ligao >>


Simple English

The English Wiktionary has a dictionary definition (meanings of a word) for:

In anatomy, the term ligament mostly means fibrous tissue that connects bones to other bones. They are sometimes called "articular ligaments", "fibrous ligaments", or "true ligaments".[1]

[[File:|thumb|Diagrammatic section of a symphysis.]] In this most common use, a ligament is a short band of tough fibrous connective tissue composed mainly of long, stringy collagen fibres. Ligaments connect bones to other bones to form a joint. (They do not connect muscles to bones; that is the function of tendons.) Some ligaments limit the mobility of articulations, or prevent certain movements altogether.

Ligaments are only slightly elastic; when under tension, they gradually lengthen. This is one reason why dislocated joints must be set as quickly as possible: if the ligaments lengthen too much, then the joint will be weakened. Athletes, gymnasts, dancers, and martial artists perform stretching exercises to lengthen their ligaments, making their joints more supple. The consequence of a broken ligament can be instability of the joint. Not all broken ligaments need surgery, but if surgery is needed to stabilise the joint, the broken ligament can be joined.

References

  1. Other meanings of ligament are: A fold of peritoneum or other membrane and the remnants of a tubular structure from the fetal period of life

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