In anatomy
Anatomy is a branch of biology and medicine that is the consideration of the structure of living things. It is a general term that includes human anatomy, animal anatomy , and plant anatomy...

, the term ligament is used to denote any of three types of structures. Most commonly, it refers to fibrous tissue
Tissue (biology)
Tissue is a cellular organizational level intermediate between cells and a complete organism. A tissue is an ensemble of cells, not necessarily identical, but from the same origin, that together carry out a specific function. These are called tissues because of their identical functioning...

 that connects bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

s to other bone
Bones are rigid organs that constitute part of the endoskeleton of vertebrates. They support, and protect the various organs of the body, produce red and white blood cells and store minerals. Bone tissue is a type of dense connective tissue...

s and is also known as articular ligament, articular larua, fibrous ligament, or true ligament.

Ligament can also refer to:
  • Peritoneal ligament: a fold of peritoneum
    The peritoneum is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity or the coelom — it covers most of the intra-abdominal organs — in amniotes and some invertebrates...

     or other membranes.
  • Fetal remnant ligament: the remnants of a tubular structure from the fetal
    A fetus is a developing mammal or other viviparous vertebrate after the embryonic stage and before birth.In humans, the fetal stage of prenatal development starts at the beginning of the 11th week in gestational age, which is the 9th week after fertilization.-Etymology and spelling variations:The...

     period of life.

The study of ligaments is known as desmology (from Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 , desmos, "string"; and , -logia
-logy is a suffix in the English language, used with words originally adapted from Ancient Greek language ending in -λογία...


Articular ligaments

"Ligament" most commonly refers to a band of tough, fibrous dense regular connective tissue
Connective tissue
"Connective tissue" is a fibrous tissue. It is one of the four traditional classes of tissues . Connective Tissue is found throughout the body.In fact the whole framework of the skeleton and the different specialized connective tissues from the crown of the head to the toes determine the form of...

 comprising attenuated collagenous fibers
Animal fiber
Animal fibers are natural fibers that consist largely of particular proteins. Instances are silk, hair/fur and feathers. The animal fibers used most commonly both in the manufacturing world as well as by the hand spinners are wool from domestic sheep and silk. Also very popular are alpaca fiber...

. Ligaments connect bones to other bones to form a joint
A joint is the location at which two or more bones make contact. They are constructed to allow movement and provide mechanical support, and are classified structurally and functionally.-Classification:...

. They do not connect muscle
Muscle is a contractile tissue of animals and is derived from the mesodermal layer of embryonic germ cells. Muscle cells contain contractile filaments that move past each other and change the size of the cell. They are classified as skeletal, cardiac, or smooth muscles. Their function is to...

s to bones; that is the job of tendon
A tendon is a tough band of fibrous connective tissue that usually connects muscle to bone and is capable of withstanding tension. Tendons are similar to ligaments and fasciae as they are all made of collagen except that ligaments join one bone to another bone, and fasciae connect muscles to other...

s. Some ligaments limit the mobility of articulations, or prevent certain movements altogether.

Capsular ligaments are part of the articular capsule that surrounds synovial joint
Synovial joint
A Synovial joint, also known as a diarthrosis, is the most common and most movable type of joint in the body of a mammal. As with most other joints, synovial joints achieve movement at the point of contact of the articulating bones....

s. 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 ligament
Cruciate ligament
Cruciate ligaments are pairs of ligaments arranged like a letter X. They occur in several joints of the body, such as the knee...

s occur in pairs.

Ligaments are viscoelastic. They gradually lengthen when under tension, and return to their original shape when the tension is removed. However, they cannot retain their original shape when stretched past a certain point or for a prolonged period of time. This is one reason why dislocated
Dislocation (medicine)
Joint dislocation, or luxation , occurs when bones in a joint become displaced or misaligned. It is often caused by a sudden impact to the joint. The ligaments always become damaged as a result of a dislocation...

 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 with more-elastic ligaments, allowing their joints to stretch and contort further. The medical term for describing such double-jointed persons is hyperlaxity.

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
Scar tissue
Scar tissue can refer to:*Granulation tissue, a product of healing in major wounds*The tissue of a scar*"Scar Tissue", a Red Hot Chili Peppers song*Scar Tissue , the autobiography of Anthony Kiedis, lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers...

 may prevent this. If it is not possible to fix the broken ligament, other procedures such as the Brunelli procedure
Brunelli Procedure
The Brunelli Procedure is a surgical procedure that can be used to correct instability in the wrist. Instability in the wrist can be caused by a torn Scapholunate ligament. The Brunelli Procedure does not fix the torn ligament. A hole is drilled through the Scaphoid bone and a part of a tendon...

 can correct the instability. Instability of a joint can over time lead to wear of the cartilage and eventually to osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis also known as degenerative arthritis or degenerative joint disease, is a group of mechanical abnormalities involving degradation of joints, including articular cartilage and subchondral bone. Symptoms may include joint pain, tenderness, stiffness, locking, and sometimes an effusion...



Head and neck
  • Cricothyroid ligament
    Cricothyroid ligament
    The cricothyroid ligament is the larger part of the laryngeal membrane, continuing inferiorly as a median or anterior part and twin lateral ligaments....

  • Periodontal ligament
    Periodontal ligament
    The periodontal fiber or periodontal ligament, commonly abbreviated as the PDL, is a group of specialized connective tissue fibers that essentially attach a tooth to the alveolar bone within which it sits...

  • Suspensory ligament of the lens

  • Suspensory ligament of the breast

  • Anterior sacroiliac ligament
    Anterior sacroiliac ligament
    The anterior sacroiliac ligament consists of numerous thin bands, which connect the anterior surface of the lateral part of the sacrum to the margin of the auricular surface of the ilium and to the preauricular sulcus....

  • Posterior sacroiliac ligament
    Posterior sacroiliac ligament
    The posterior sacroiliac ligament is situated in a deep depression between the sacrum and ilium behind; it is strong and forms the chief bond of union between the bones.It consists of numerous fasciculi, which pass between the bones in various directions....

  • Sacrotuberous ligament
    Sacrotuberous ligament
    The sacrotuberous ligament is situated at the lower and back part of the pelvis. It is flat, and triangular in form; narrower in the middle than at the ends....

  • Sacrospinous ligament
    Sacrospinous ligament
    -External links: - "Posterior view of the bones and ligaments of the hip joint."*...

  • Inferior pubic ligament
    Inferior pubic ligament
    The inferior pubic ligament is a thick, triangular arch of ligamentous fibers, connecting together the two pubic bones below, and forming the upper boundary of the pubic arch.Above, it is blended with the interpubic fibrocartilaginous lamina; laterally, it is attached to the inferior rami of...

  • Superior pubic ligament
    Superior pubic ligament
    The superior pubic ligament connects together the two pubic bones superiorly, extending laterally as far as the pubic tubercles....

  • Suspensory ligament of the penis
    Suspensory ligament of the penis
    In males, the suspensory ligament of the penis is attached to the pubic symphysis, which holds the penis close to the pubic bone and supports it when erect....

  • Palmar radiocarpal ligament
  • Dorsal radiocarpal ligament
    Dorsal radiocarpal ligament
    The dorsal radiocarpal ligament less thick and strong than the volar, is attached, above, to the posterior border of the lower end of the radius; its fibers are directed obliquely downward and medialward, and are fixed, below, to the dorsal surfaces of the navicular , lunate, and triangular, being...

  • Ulnar collateral ligament
    Ulnar collateral ligament (wrist)
    The ulnar collateral ligament is a rounded cord, attached above to the end of the styloid process of the ulna, and dividing below into two fasciculi, one of which is attached to the medial side of the triquetral bone, the other to the pisiform and flexor retinaculum....

  • Radial collateral ligament
    Radial collateral ligament (wrist)
    The radial collateral ligament extends from the tip of the styloid process of the radius and attaches to the radial side of the scaphoid , immediately adjacent to its proximal articular surface and some fibres extend to the lateral side of the trapezium The radial collateral ligament (external...

  • Anterior cruciate ligament
    Anterior cruciate ligament
    The anterior cruciate ligament is a cruciate ligament which is one of the four major ligaments of the human knee. In the quadruped stifle , based on its anatomical position, it is referred to as the cranial cruciate ligament.The ACL originates from deep within the notch of the distal femur...

  • Lateral collateral ligament (LCL)
  • Posterior cruciate ligament
    Posterior cruciate ligament
    The posterior cruciate ligament is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It connects the posterior intercondylar area of the tibia to the medial condyle of the femur...

  • Medial collateral ligament
    Medial collateral ligament
    The medial collateral ligament of the knee is one of the four major ligaments of the knee. It is on the medial side of the knee joint in humans and other primates. It is also known as the tibial collateral ligament, or abbreviated as the MCL.- Structure :It is a broad, flat, membranous band,...

  • Cranial cruciate ligament (CrCL) - quadruped
    Quadrupedalism is a form of land animal locomotion using four limbs or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a quadrupedal manner is known as a quadruped, meaning "four feet"...

     equivalent of ACL
  • Caudal cruciate ligament (CaCL) - quadruped
    Quadrupedalism is a form of land animal locomotion using four limbs or legs. An animal or machine that usually moves in a quadrupedal manner is known as a quadruped, meaning "four feet"...

     equivalent of PCL
  • Patellar ligament
    Patellar ligament
    The patellar ligament is the central portion of the common tendon of the Quadriceps femoris, which is continued from the patella to the tuberosity of the tibia.-Anatomy:It is a strong, flat, ligament, about 10 cm...

Peritoneal ligaments

Certain folds of peritoneum
The peritoneum is the serous membrane that forms the lining of the abdominal cavity or the coelom — it covers most of the intra-abdominal organs — in amniotes and some invertebrates...

 are referred to as ligaments. Examples include:
  • The hepatoduodenal ligament
    Hepatoduodenal ligament
    The hepatoduodenal ligament is the portion of the lesser omentum extending between the porta hepatis of the liver and the superior part of the duodenum.Running inside it are the following:* hepatic artery proper* hepatic portal vein* common bile duct...

    , that surrounds the hepatic portal vein
    Hepatic portal vein
    The hepatic portal vein is not a true vein, because it does not conduct blood directly to the heart. It is a vessel in the abdominal cavity that drains blood from the gastrointestinal tract and spleen to capillary beds in the liver...

     and other vessels as they travel from the duodenum
    The duodenum is the first section of the small intestine in most higher vertebrates, including mammals, reptiles, and birds. In fish, the divisions of the small intestine are not as clear and the terms anterior intestine or proximal intestine may be used instead of duodenum...

     to the liver
    The liver is a vital organ present in vertebrates and some other animals. It has a wide range of functions, including detoxification, protein synthesis, and production of biochemicals necessary for digestion...

  • The broad ligament of the uterus
    Broad ligament of the uterus
    The broad ligament of the uterus is the wide fold of peritoneum that connects the sides of the uterus to the walls and floor of the pelvis.-Subdivisions:The broad ligament may be divided into three subcomponents:...

    , also a fold of peritoneum.

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 >
|ductus arteriosus
Ductus arteriosus
In the developing fetus, the ductus arteriosus , also called the ductus Botalli, is a shunt connecting the pulmonary artery to the aortic arch. It allows most of the blood from the right ventricle to bypass the fetus's fluid-filled lungs. Upon closure at birth, it becomes the ligamentum arteriosum...

ligamentum arteriosum
Ligamentum arteriosum
The ligamentum arteriosum is a small ligament attached to the superior surface of the pulmonary trunk and the inferior surface of the aortic arch...

| extra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical vein
Umbilical vein
The umbilical vein is a vein present during fetal development that carries oxygenated blood from the placenta to the growing fetus.The blood pressure inside the umbilical vein is approximately 20 mmHg.-Development:...

| intra-hepatic portion of the fetal left umbilical vein (the ductus venosus
Ductus venosus
In the fetus, the ductus venosus shunts approximately half of the blood flow of the umbilical vein directly to the inferior vena cava. Thus, it allows oxygenated blood from the placenta to bypass the liver. In conjunction with the other fetal shunts, the foramen ovale and ductus arteriosus, it...

ligamentum venosum
Ligamentum venosum
The ligamentum venosum is the fibrous remnant of the ductus venosus of the fetal circulation. Usually, it is attached to the left branch of the portal vein within the porta hepatis...

| distal portions of the fetal left and right umbilical arteries 
medial umbilical ligaments
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