Ligaments are fibrous bands which connect the adjacent bones, forming integral parts of the joints. They are tough and unyielding, but at tie same time are flexible and pliant, so that the normal movements occur without any resistance, but the abnormal movements are prevented.
Types of Ligaments:
According to composition:
- Most of the ligaments are made up of collagen fibers. These are inelastic and unstretchable,
- A few ligaments, like the Ligament flava and ligaments of auditory ossicles, are made up of elastin fibers (predominantly). These are elastic and stretchable.
According to relation to the joint:
- Intrinsic ligaments surround the joint, and may be extracapsular or intracapsular.
- Extrinsic ligaments are independent of the joint; and lie away from them.
Blood and Nerve Supply of Ligaments:
The blood vessels and nerves of the joint ramify on its ligaments and supply them. Most ligaments serve as sense organs because of their rich nerve supply. They act as important reflex mechanisms and are important in monitoring the position and movements of the joint.
Functions of ligaments:
- Ligaments are important agents in maintaining the stability at the joint.
- Their sensory function makes important reflex organs so that their joint stabilizing role is far more efficient.