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Tendon functionality is related to its mechanical properties. Tendon damage leads to a reduction in mechanical strength and altered biomechanical behavior, and therefore leads to compromised ability to carry out normal functions such as joint movement and stabilization. Damage can also accumulate in the tissue and lead to failure. A noninvasive method with which to measure such damage potentially could quantify structural compromise from tendon injury and track improvement over time. In this study, tendon mechanics are measured before and after damage is induced by "overstretch" (strain exceeding the elastic limit of the tissue) using a traditional mechanical test system while ultrasonic echo intensity (average gray scale brightness in a B-mode image) is recorded using clinical ultrasound. The diffuse damage caused by overstretch lowered the stress at a given strain in the tissue and decreased viscoelastic response. Overstretch also lowered echo intensity changes during stress relaxation and cyclic testing. As the input strain during overstretch increased, stress levels and echo intensity changes decreased. Also, viscoelastic parameters and time-dependent echo intensity changes were reduced. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Sarah Duenwald-Kuehl, Roderic Lakes, Ray Vanderby. Strain-induced damage reduces echo intensity changes in tendon during loading. Journal of biomechanics. 2012 Jun 1;45(9):1607-11

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PMID: 22542220

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