A biomechanical analysis of 3D stress and strain patterns in patellar tendon during knee flexion

Kunyang Wang, Soroosh H. Hosseinnejad, Ali Jabran, Vasilios Baltzopoulos, Lei Ren, Zhihui Qian

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Patellar tendinopathy is among the most widespread patellar tendon diseases in athletes that participate in activities involving running and jumping. Although their symptoms can be detected, especially at the inferior pole of the patella, their biomechanical cause remains unknown. In this study, a three-dimensional finite element model of knee complex was developed to investigate principal stress and strain distributions in the patellar tendon during 0° to 90° knee flexion and slow and fast level-ground walking. Results indicate that the patellar tendon is subjected to tensile stress and strains during all three activities. During flexion, its central proximal posterior region exhibited highest peak stress and strain, followed by central distal posterior, central distal anterior and central proximal anterior region. Similar trends and magnitudes were reported during slow and fast walking. The region with highest principal stresses and strains, central proximal anterior region, also corresponds to the most commonly reported patellar tendinopathy lesion site, suggesting that principal stress and strain are good indicators of lesion site location. Additional factors such as regional variations in material properties and frequency and duration of cyclic loading also need to be considered when determining the biomechanical aetiology of patellar tendinopathy.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere3379
JournalInternational Journal for Numerical Methods in Biomedical Engineering
Issue number9
Early online date21 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 2020


  • computational model
  • finite element analysis
  • in vivo stress and strain
  • patellar tendinopathy
  • patellar tendon


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