Ex vivo study correlating the stiffness of the ovine patellar tendon to age and weight

Françoise Kayser, Edoardo Bori, Sophie Fourny, Fanny Hontoir, Peter Clegg, Alexandra Dugdale, Jean Michel Vandeweerd, Bernardo Innocenti

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Tendons play a crucial role in the musculoskeletal system. In humans, tendon injuries, especially chronic tendinopathy, are very common and the patellar tendon is a frequent location for tendinopathy or injuries. The biomechanical characteristics of the patellar tendon, such as elasticity and stiffness, are of paramount importance and constitute major outcome measures in research studies. We aimed to assess whether the stiffness of the healthy ovine patellar tendon changes with age and weight in a population of normal animals. Sixty-eight ‘patella-patellar tendon-tibial tuberosity’ units from thirty-four Ile-de-France ewes of body mass 65 to 95 kg, euthanized for reasons other than musculoskeletal diseases, underwent a tensile test providing a measure of the tendon stiffness. Animals were sorted into three categories of age (1–2 yo, 3–5 yo, 6–10 yo). We found a positive but not significant correlation between age category and stiffness (r = 0.22, p = 0.27). There was a significantly positive correlation between weight and stiffness (r = 0.39, p = 0.04). In conclusion, the study characterized biomechanical properties of healthy tendons, provided useful reference values, and established the basis for future biomechanical tests on healing tendons in sheep. The most appropriate sheep population for those future studies would be non-overweight young adults presenting with no lameness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Biomechanics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Age
  • ovine
  • patellar tendon
  • stiffness
  • weight


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