Mechanical and strain behaviour of human Achilles tendon during in vitro testing to failure

C. V. Nagelli, A. Hooke, N. Quirk, C. L. De Padilla, T. E. Hewett, M. van Griensven, M. Coenen, L. Berglund, C. H. Evans, S. A. Müller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Achilles tendon is the strongest tendon in the human body but its mechanical behaviour during failure has been little studied and the basis of its high tensile strength has not been elucidated in detail. In the present study, healthy, human, Achilles tendons were loaded to failure in an anatomically authentic fashion while the local deformation and strains were studied in real time, with very high precision, using digital image correlation (DIC). The values determined for the strength of the Achilles tendon were at the high end of those reported in the literature, consistent with the absence of a pre-existing tendinopathy in the samples, as determined by careful gross inspection and histology. Early in the loading cycle, the proximal region of the tendon accumulated high lateral strains while longitudinal strains remained low. However, immediately before rupture, the mid-substance of the Achilles tendon, its weakest part, started to show high longitudinal strains. These new insights advance the understanding of the mechanical behaviour of tendons as they are stretched to failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-161
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Cells and Materials
StatePublished - Apr 21 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Cell Biology


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