Recruitment of tendon crimp with applied tensile strain

Kristi A. Hansen, Jeffrey A. Weiss, Jennifer K. Barton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

238 Scopus citations


The tensile stress-strain behavior of ligaments and tendons begins with a toe region that is believed to result from the straightening of crimped collagen fibrils. The in situ mechanical function is mostly confined to this toe region and changes in crimp morphology are believed to be associated with pathological conditions. A relatively new imaging technique, optical coherence tomography (OCT), provides a comparatively inexpensive method for nondestructive investigation of tissue ultrastructure with resolution on the order of 15 μm and the potential for use in a clinical setting. The objectives of this work were to assess the utility of OCT for visualizing crimp period, and to use OCT to determine how crimp period changed as a function of applied tensile strain in rat tail tendon fascicles. Fascicles from rat tail tendons were subjected to 0.5 percent strain increments up to 5 percent and imaged at each increment using OCT. A comparison between OCT images and optical microscopy images taken between crossed polarizing lenses showed a visual correspondence between features indicative of crimp pattern. Crimp pattern always disappeared completely before 3 percent axial strain was reached. Average crimp period increased as strain increased, but both elongation and shortening occurred within single crimp periods during the application of increasing strain to the fascicle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)72-77
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Biomechanical Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Collagen
  • Fascicle
  • Fibril
  • Material Properties
  • Optical Coherence Tomography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Recruitment of tendon crimp with applied tensile strain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this