Tendon injuries have become more frequent over the past decades. However, no consensus has been reached on the optimal treatment of tendon disease, particularly considering tendon ruptures. Since mechanical loading causes adaptation of soft tissues through mechanobiological mechanisms, one of the major research interests is the effect of different degrees of loading on the tendon during healing and particularly how the tendon is affected by different degrees of loading.
In the first project we studied the effect of a reduction in loading on the mechanical properties in intact rat Achilles tendon. We used an established Fibre-reinforced poro-visco-hyper-elastic material model to identify the change in mechanical properties characterized by a period of reduced loading. We developed a novel parameter identification method by incorporating mechanical data from different mechanical tests to identify a general set of parameters to characterize tendon behaviour. This project was finalized by a publication in the Journal of Mechanical Behaviour of Biomedical Materials.
In the following projects, we focus on mechanobiology in tendon healing rather than intact tendon. An adaptive healing framework was created using the previously used material model to describe the evolution of tendon properties throughout early healing. Our main interest is to predict the spatio-temporal evolution of collagen producion and reorientation as well as the temporal evolution of overal mechanical properties such as tendon stiffness. In addition, the effect of reduced loading on tendon healing is investigated.