Human Body

How do muscles attach to bones?

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Our bodies have different types of tissues that are used to connect all of our different parts. Bones are connected to other bones by special tissues called "ligaments." But when bones are connected to muscles, the special tissues are called "tendons."

Tendons are very strong. They are built from long strands of protein and they are not very stretchy. When a muscle pulls, they pull too and they can move our bones.

We have tendons in many parts of our bodies: wrists, elbows, thumbs, shoulders, knees, head, legs, and heels. Tendons almost always connect bone to muscle, but sometimes they connect muscle to other things, like an eyeball!

Exploration

Achilles Heel

You can find at least one tendon in your body pretty easily. It's called the Achilles tendon and it connects your calf muscles (the back of your lower leg) to your heel.

While sitting, lightly pinch the back of your leg, right above your heel. (If you were standing, you might tip over!) Wave your foot, like it was your hand. You'll feel something moving in the back of your leg. You might have thought this was a bone, but it's actually a tendon!

The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in our bodies. Why do you think it needs to be so strong?

Sources

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.Encyclopdia Britannica Online