Tendon and Ligament Genetics: How Do They Contribute to Disease and Injury? A Narrative Review

A significant proportion of patients requiring musculoskeletal management present with tendon and ligament pathology. Our understanding of the intrinsic and extrinsic mechanisms that lead to such disabilities is increasing. However, the complexity underpinning these interactive multifactorial elements is still not fully characterised. Evidence highlighting the genetic components, either reducing or increasing susceptibility to injury, is increasing. This review examines the present understanding of the role genetic variations contribute to tendon and ligament injury risk. It examines the different elements of tendon and ligament structure and considers our knowledge of genetic influence on form, function, ability to withstand load, and undertake repair or regeneration. The role of epigenetic factors in modifying gene expression in these structures is also explored. It considers the challenges to interpreting present knowledge, the requirements, and likely pathways for future research, and whether such information has reached the point of clinical utility.