The role of mechanical loading in tendon development, maintenance, injury, and repair

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2013 Sep 4;95(17):1620-8. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.L.01004.


Tendon injuries often result from excessive or insufficient mechanical loading, impairing the ability of the local tendon cell population to maintain normal tendon function. The resident cell population composing tendon tissue is mechanosensitive, given that the cells are able to alter the extracellular matrix in response to modifications of the local loading environment. Natural tendon healing is insufficient, characterized by improper collagen fibril diameter formation, collagen fibril distribution, and overall fibril misalignment. Current tendon repair rehabilitation protocols focus on implementing early, well-controlled eccentric loading exercises to improve repair outcome. Tissue engineers look toward incorporating mechanical loading regimens to precondition cell populations for the creation of improved biological augmentations for tendon repair.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tendon Injuries / physiopathology*
  • Tendons / physiology*
  • Weight-Bearing / physiology*
  • Wound Healing / physiology*