Ligaments Binding The Bones And The Joints

Ligaments Binding The Bones And The Joints

Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi profile Authored by Dr.Surya Rao Poodipeddi on 28 Jan 2014 - 16:59.

The word ligament comes from a Latin word "ligamentum", meaning a band or a tie. A ligament is a tough band of white, fibrous and slightly elastic tissue. It is an essential part of any skeletal jointbinding together the bone ends involved in forming the respective joint to prevent dislocation of a joint or even any excessive movement of a jointthat might causebreakage. These ligaments play an important role in keeping the movements of a joint smooth and also the concerned organ in its place.

Functioning: Ligaments prevent the bones from excessive movements of the joint. The protective cartilage within the joint space prevents rubbing of the bone ends and these joints are bound together by means of strong ligaments. The ligaments support the joint movementin a particular direction and when extensive force is applied during an accident, it leads to breakage of the ligament and even dislocation of the joint.

As an example, the knee joint is primarily a hinge joint, which moves the limb backwards but not frontwards, as the ligament prevents it from such awkward movement. They bind even a joint between two phalanges of afinger. An organ like uterus is kept in position with the help of a strong and wide ligament called the broad ligament of the uterus.

Ligament dysfunction: Any break in the ligament distorts the position ofthe uterus. Similarly the diaphragm a very big muscle that divides the chest cavity from the abdominal cavity and acts as the main muscle for respiratory movements is bound in its position by strong ligaments that attach the diaphragm to the thoracic wall. Other organs of importance which are bound by the ligaments include the urinary bladder, liver etc.

In majority of cases ligaments over the knee and ankle joints are damaged by injury. A torn ligament usually results from a sudden twist of the ankle joint or the knee joint. If there are minor sprains we can always treat them with an ice pack, protective caps or bands like elastic crepe and in severe cases physiotherapy might help. However, if the ligament is torn a plaster cast may be necessary to restore normal functions of the joint.

The knee joint is well protected with strong ligaments one each on the sides and one in front and one behind. The knee is subjected to lot of stress and strain and more vulnerable to injuries than the hip joints mainly because the joint is superficial and exposed to the exterior.

Most of the organs are attached by means of a ligament. The following are some of the important organs with ligament attachments.

Ovary: is present only in females. Is attached to the uterus with a ligament.

The teeth: are joined to the jaw and gums by the periodontal ligament.

Joints: The range of movement of joints are determined by the ligaments, in providing stability and support. For example the hip joints are far less mobile than the shoulder joints because the ligaments for the hip joint limit the movements whereas the shoulder joint has wider range of movements.

Joints of the foot, hands and the spine sacrifice mobility for stability since inflexible ligaments (which allow little movement) join them. * The lens of the eye lens is attached to the ciliary body by a ligament called the suspensory ligament. The very name implies that the lens remain suspended by means of the ligament.

Ligament Injuries: Injuries to the ligaments of the knee joints are graded in terms of their severity namely grade I & II sprains and grade III tear. High-speed vehicular accidents and sportsinjuries affect the knee joints to the extent of causing severe dislocations needing surgical interventions.

One can prevent major problems with big joints by exercising more care during sports activities and also by preventing vehicular accidents. Regular exercises involving both big and small joints go a long way in preventing most of the problems. However, one should not overdo these exercises.


*Disclaimer: This is not medical advice. The content is for educational purposes only. Please contact your doctor for any health care issues.