What happens to the connective tissue in my body as I age?

Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Dr. Vonda Wright, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Connective tissue, such as ligaments and tendons, are inherently stiffer with aging. This is the result of an age-related loss of tissue water content and maturation of the collagen in ligaments and tendons. In addition, many systemic diseases can make these tissues stiffer. As a result, joint motion decreases. For instance, knee motion decreases with aging. It is 120 to 130 degrees when we are in our 40s and drops to 95 degrees in our 70s and 80s.

Maintaining supple tissues by paying attention to stretching and flexibility is very important. Simply put, flexible soft tissue performs better than stiff tissue! Flexibility also maintains the stretch/reflex response of muscle and thereby boosts speed. Finally, stretching may reduce delayed exercise soreness.


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