Like tendons, ligaments that are stretched suddenly and farther than about four percent will be damaged and tear or remain stretched. [1] In this regard ligaments and tendons are said to be plastic rather than elastic. Elastic materials, like our muscles or an elastic band, can be stretched considerably, and once stretched they will still revert back to their original shape. Plastic materials, like our ligaments or plasticine, if stretched will remain in the new shape. Once a ligament or tendon is stretched, it will not recover its original shape or size on its own. However, the body may repair it over time. For these reasons, the way in which we exercise plastic tissues must be different from the way we exercise elastic tissues.

This does not mean we should not exercise our ligaments or tendons; we just have to take care when we do so that we don’t exceed their limits. We do not have to worry about our tendons normally the muscles will do the stretching for us. However, even here we do have to be careful that we don’t overdo the effort. Damage to tendons can happen and generally pain is present as a signal that something is wrong. Listening for these warning signals is the best way to prevent tearing anything.

Now that we know what connective tissue is, we look at what it is made of. Mostly what it is made of is collagen.

  1. There are exceptions, such as the ligaments in our spine, as noted earlier.

(Next: Collagen )