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Tendons and Bursae ˈbər-sə

By Alexandra Villa-Forte, MD, MPH, Staff Physician, Center for Vasculitis Care and Research, Department of Rheumatic and Immunologic Diseases, Cleveland Clinic

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Tendons are tough bands of connective tissue made up mostly of a rigid protein called collagen. Tendons firmly attach each end of a muscle to a bone. They are often located within sheaths, which are lubricated to allow the tendons to move without friction.

Bursae are small fluid-filled sacs that can lie under a tendon, cushioning the tendon and protecting it from injury. Bursae also provide extra cushioning to adjacent structures that otherwise might rub against each other, causing wear and tear—for example, between a bone and a ligament or a bony prominence and overlying skin (such as in the elbow, kneecap, or shoulder area).

Did You Know...

  • Tendons connect the ends of muscles to bones whereas ligaments connect bones to other bones.

Muscles and Other Tissues of the Musculoskeletal System

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