Relationship between tendon stiffness and failure: a metaanalysis


Journal Article

Tendon is a highly specialized, hierarchical tissue designed to transfer forces from muscle to bone; complex viscoelastic and anisotropic behaviors have been extensively characterized for specific subsets of tendons. Reported mechanical data consistently show a pseudoelastic, stress-vs.-strain behavior with a linear slope after an initial toe region. Many studies report a linear, elastic modulus, or Young's modulus (hereafter called elastic modulus) and ultimate stress for their tendon specimens. Individually, these studies are unable to provide a broader, interstudy understanding of tendon mechanical behavior. Herein we present a metaanalysis of pooled mechanical data from a representative sample of tendons from different species. These data include healthy tendons and those altered by injury and healing, genetic modification, allograft preparation, mechanical environment, and age. Fifty studies were selected and analyzed. Despite a wide range of mechanical properties between and within species, elastic modulus and ultimate stress are highly correlated ( R2 = 0.785), suggesting that tendon failure is highly strain-dependent. Furthermore, this relationship was observed to be predictable over controlled ranges of elastic moduli, as would be typical of any individual species. With the knowledge gained through this metaanalysis, noninvasive tools could measure elastic modulus in vivo and reasonably predict ultimate stress (or structural compromise) for diseased or injured tendon.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • LaCroix, AS; Duenwald-Kuehl, SE; Lakes, RS; Vanderby, R

Published Date

  • July 1, 2013

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 115 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 43 - 51

Published By

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1522-1601

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 8750-7587

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1152/japplphysiol.01449.2012


  • en