Effects of structure and strain measurement technique on the material properties of young human tendons and fascia

J Biomech. 1984;17(8):579-96. doi: 10.1016/0021-9290(84)90090-3.


It is generally recognized that the organization of collagen bundles in soft tissues strongly influences their material properties. To study this, sixty failure tests were conducted on double-layered fascia lata, 'isolated' parallel-bundled tendons (gracilis and semitendinosus) and parallel-bundled bone-patellar tendon-bone units taken from about the knees of eighteen young human donors (mean age of 26 yr). Surprisingly, most material parameters for the two-layered fascia lata did not differ significantly from corresponding values for the isolated tendons and tendon-bone preparations, suggesting their longitudinal fibers predominated during loading. Differences were present however between the gracilis tendon and all other tissues for both modulus and maximum stress. The large variations in reported maximum and failure strains for tendons, fascia and other collagenous tissues prompted the other phase of the study. During 15 of the 60 failure tests, surface markers were simultaneously filmed to determine; differences between local surface strains and grip to grip values; the amount of tissue slippage and/or failure occurring in the grips; and the effect of strain measurement technique on tissue moduli and failure energy densities. Maximum local strains were found to be 25-30% of grip strains for all tissues tested. Some slippage and/or failure could be seen in all isolated tissues which were gripped directly although their maximum grip strains were similar to values for tendon-bone units. For all tissues, two to three fold differences were also found in moduli and failure energy densities between grip and midregion measurements.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Fascia / physiology*
  • Fascia Lata / anatomy & histology
  • Fascia Lata / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee*
  • Leg*
  • Male
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / physiology*