Effects of restressing on the mechanical properties of stress-shielded patellar tendons in rabbits

J Biomech Eng. 1996 May;118(2):216-20. doi: 10.1115/1.2795962.


We studied the effects of restressing on the mechanical properties and morphology of stress-shielded rabbit patellar tendons. After completely unloading the patellar tendon for 1 to 3 weeks, tension was again applied to the tendon for subsequent 3 to 12 weeks. Although the stress shielding markedly decreased the tangent modulus and tensile strength of the tendon, restressing significantly increased them. However, the mechanical properties of the tendon were not completely recovered even after a prolonged period of restressing. The microstructure of the tendon was also restored by restressing, although the recovery was incomplete. These results indicate that the mechanical properties and morphology of tendinous tissue change in response to mechanical demands.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Collagen / analysis
  • Female
  • Fibroblasts / pathology
  • Patella / physiopathology*
  • Patella / surgery
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Rabbits
  • Reoperation
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Stress, Physiological / physiopathology*
  • Tendons / pathology
  • Tendons / physiology*
  • Tensile Strength / physiology


  • Collagen