Research Topic

Tendon Structure-Function Relationship in Health, Ageing and Injury

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Tendons connect muscle fibers to the skeleton. Thereby, one of their main functions is to transmit muscle fiber force to bone and produce movements of the body. In addition, tendons can store and release energy during movement contributing to locomotor economy. Our musculoskeletal system contains several ...

Tendons connect muscle fibers to the skeleton. Thereby, one of their main functions is to transmit muscle fiber force to bone and produce movements of the body. In addition, tendons can store and release energy during movement contributing to locomotor economy. Our musculoskeletal system contains several muscle groups in which different muscles share a tendon. One of the most well-known are the quadriceps muscles, sharing the patellar tendon and the triceps surae muscles, sharing the Achilles tendon. The structure and mechanical properties of these tendons have been studied extensively, considering them as one unit. However, these shared tendons consist of multiple subtendons with a non-collagenous matrix in between them.

Tendons adapt to changes in mechanical loading, for example in response to physical exercise. The structure and composition of tendons, including the matrix, is also modified with ageing. The latter may be responsible for an increased risk of injury in the elderly. Additionally, tendons are not only frequently injured in the elderly, but also in younger adults. Improving our understanding of the tendon structure-(dys)function relationship in health and disease, as well as following exercise and with ageing, is therefore important for the development of effective injury prevention and treatment strategies. The structure, composition and mechanical properties of tendons have been studied extensively, but often without taking into account, the intricate structure of shared tendons.

This Research Topic is therefore interested in studies investigating:

(i) The structure and composition of subtendons and non-collagenous matrix
(ii) The relationship between tendon structure and mechanical properties
(iii) Non-uniform behavior of subtendons during various motor tasks
(iv) Adaptations due to tendon injury, physical activity and ageing


Keywords: Tendon, Skeletal Muscle, Remodeling, Biomechanics, Extracellular matrix


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