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Vol. 37 No. 2, March/April 2000
Pages 217 - 224

Tendon and ligament adaptation to exercise, immobilization, and remobilization

Tishya A. L. Wren, PhD; Gary S. Beaupré, PhD; Dennis R. Carter

Rehabilitation Research and Development Center, Veterans Affairs Health Care System, Palo Alto, CA; Biomechanical Engineering Division, Mechanical Engineering Department, Stanford University, Stanford, CA.

Abstract — This study provides a theoretical and computational basis for understanding and predicting how tendons and ligaments adapt to exercise, immobilization, and remobilization. In a previous study, we introduced a model that described the growth and development of tendons and ligaments. In this study, we use the same model to predict changes in the cross-sectional area, modulus, and strength of tendons and ligaments due to increased or decreased loading. The model predictions are consistent with the results of experimental exercise and immobilization studies performed by other investigators. These results suggest that the same fundamental principles guide both development and adaptation. A basic understanding of these principles can contribute both to prevention of tendon and ligament injuries and to more effective rehabilitation when injury does occur.

Keywords: adaptation,exercise,immobilization,ligament,mechanobiology,tendon.


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