Ligament structure, physiology and function

J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2004 Jun;4(2):199-201.


Ligaments are specialized connective tissues with very interesting biomechanical properties. They have the ability to adapt to the complex functions that each are required to perform. While ligaments were once thought to be inert, they are in fact responsive to many local and systemic factors that influence their function within the organism. Injury to a ligament results in a drastic change in its structure and physiology and creates a situation where ligament function is restored by the formation of scar tissue that is biologically and biomechanically inferior to the tissue it replaces. This article will briefly review the basic structure, physiology and function of normal versus healing knee ligaments, referring specifically to what is known about two of the most extensively studied and clinically relevant knee ligaments, the anterior cruciate (ACL) and medial collateral (MCL) ligaments of the knee. Those readers wishing for more comprehensive sources of information on ligament biology and biomechanics are referred to many excellent reviews on these topics.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Humans
  • Ligaments / anatomy & histology*
  • Ligaments / injuries
  • Ligaments / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology