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Nutrition to Strengthen Tendons & Ligaments

author image Hannah Rose
Hannah Rose is a professional writer who is also preparing a doctoral dissertation focusing on program development. She received her Master of Arts in psychology in May 2011 and is pursuing her Doctor of Psychology at George Fox University with a focus on clinical psychology. She also works as a primary care therapist for a family medical clinic.
Nutrition to Strengthen Tendons & Ligaments
Man holding his knee. Photo Credit kosmos111/iStock/Getty Images

Tendons and ligaments are key structures in your body. Tendons connect muscles to bones, while ligaments attach bones to other bones and your joints. These tissues are what enables you to stand up, move at the joints and perform pretty much any physical action with your body. Damaging these connective tissues can be disabling. Whether you are recovering from an injury or just trying to grow stronger, proper nutrition can help strengthen your tendons and ligaments.


Vitamins C and E both have important functions in terms of tendon and ligament health. The most significant benefit of these nutrients is their role in producing collagen, an elastic protein used in your skin, tendons, ligaments and other flexible structures in the body. Vitamin C can also reduce inflammation, which can speed up healing. Vitamin C should be consumed regularly through your diet, but you should take high doses of the vitamin in the days following an injury to the tendons and/or ligaments to support healing and restore strength.


Similar to vitamin C, zinc is useful in reducing inflammation, which irritates the tendons and ligaments and can lead to worse damage. Zinc is found in all tissues, but if your tendons and ligaments are injured and weakened, the body concentrates zinc in these areas to encourage better healing. Taking a zinc supplement during these periods of injury and weakness can improve tendon and ligament health.

Proteolytic Enzymes

Proteolytic enzymes are anti-inflammatory just like vitamin C, vitamin E and zinc. These enzymes bolster the health and performance of proteins in the tendons and ligaments and form the foundation for the creation of these connective structures. Proteolytic enzymes taken in conjunction with vitamin C can also boost each other's efficacy in treating injuries and weakness in the structures.


Taking supplements is often a safe way to boost your health, but there can be unwanted side effects in some cases. You should always talk to your doctor before using supplements to make sure they will not adversely interact with any medications you are taking or other conditions existing in your body. Stop using a supplement if you develop unexplained side effects; your doctor should be notified of this development. Use supplements in conjunction with physical therapy or regular exercise to support the strengthening of your tendons and ligaments. You should also consume a balanced diet featuring foods from all food groups; this ensures that your tendons and ligaments have the basic nutrients needed to become stronger and healthier.

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