The relative compliance of energy-storing tendons may be due to the helical fibril arrangement of their fascicles
Journal of the Royal Society Interface
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A nonlinear elastic microstructural model is used to investigate the relationship between structure and function in energy-storing and positional tendons. The model is used to fit mechanical tension test data from the equine common digital extensor tendon (CDET) and superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT), which are used as archetypes of positional and energy-storing tendons, respectively. The fibril crimp and fascicle helix angles of the two tendon types are used as fitting parameters in the mathematical model to predict their values. The outer fibril crimp angles were predicted to be 15.1° ± 2.3° in the CDET and 15.8° ± 4.1° in the SDFT, and the average crimp angles were predicted to be 10.0° ± 1.5° in the CDET and 10.5° ± 2.7° in the SDFT. The crimp angles were not found to be statistically significantly different between the two tendon types (p = 0.572). By contrast, the fascicle helix angles were predicted to be 7.9° ± 9.3° in the CDET and 29.1° ± 10.3° in the SDFT and were found to be statistically highly significantly different between the two tendon types (p < 0.001). This supports previous qualitative observations that helical substructures are more likely to be found in energy-storing tendons than in positional tendons and suggests that the relative compliance of energy-storing tendons may be directly caused by these helical substructures.
AuthorsShearer, T; Thorpe, CT; Spiesz, E; SCREEN, HRC
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