The human body is an amazing machine made up of many structures that all have an important role to play. Among these are the ligaments. Ligaments are bands of fibrous tissue that are mainly composed of collagen. In what follows, we discuss 3 facts about ligaments that we hope will help you better understand the role they play in our bodies.
Ligaments, as mentioned, are bands of very strong tissue. They are found notably in joints, where they connect the different bones that make up a joint. They have a direct impact on our mobility. In fact, they are the ones that determine the range of motion that a joint can perform. In the case of unwanted movements or trauma, the ligaments help limit hyperflexion and hyperextension, thus preventing injuries that might otherwise occur.
Ligaments are also found in other parts of the body. They help keep certain organs in place, e.g., in the pelvic area. Periodontal ligaments are found in the jaw and connect the roots of the teeth to the bones of the skull (upper jaw) and mandible (lower jaw), which allows us to chew and keep our teeth firmly anchored.
Ligaments contribute to joint strength by guiding the joints’ range of motion. However, they can be injured when the forces involved in a fall, wrong move or trauma are too great. This type of injury affecting the ligaments is known as a sprain.
The degree of a sprain is directly related to the degree of injury to the ligament. In a mild sprain, there is a slight stretching of one of the ligaments within the affected joint. On the other hand, moderate sprains cause the ligament to be stretched to a greater extent or even torn partially. Severe sprains are characterized by complete ligament rupture.
Wrists, ankles and knees are the joints that are most subject to sprains because they are located closer to the extremities of the limbs. Nevertheless, sprains can occur just about anywhere there are joints on the body, especially in the lumbar region (lower back) or cervical region (neck).
Ligaments are made up of about 80% collagen. Unfortunately, aging leads to a decrease in the production of collagen in our body. This can cause various components at the musculoskeletal level to weaken. Ligaments can then become more fragile and therefore more subject to sprains.
Now that you understand the role of the ligaments for the body, make sure to keep them healthy!