Full-field strain measurements of the muscle-tendon junction using X-ray computed tomography and digital volume correlation

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We report, for the first time, the full-field 3D strain distribution of the muscle-tendon junction (MTJ). Understanding the strain distribution at the junction is crucial for the treatment of injuries and to predict tear formation at this location. Three-dimensional full-field strain distribution of mouse MTJ was measured using X-ray computer tomography (XCT) combined with digital volume correlation (DVC) with the aim of understanding the mechanical behavior of the junction under tensile loading. The interface between the Achilles tendon and the gastrocnemius muscle was harvested from adult mice and stained using 1% phosphotungstic acid in 70% ethanol. In situ XCT combined with DVC was used to image and compute strain distribution at the MTJ under a tensile load (2.4 N). High strain measuring 120,000 µε, 160,000 µε, and 120,000 µε for the first principal stain (εp1), shear strain (γ), and von Mises strain (εVM), respectively, was measured at the MTJ and these values reduced into the body of the muscle or into the tendon. Strain is concentrated at the MTJ, which is at risk of being damaged in activities associated with excessive physical activity.
Original languageEnglish
Article number162
Number of pages16
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2024


  • strain
  • 3D strain measurement
  • muscle-tendon junction (MTJ)
  • X-ray computed tomography (XCT)
  • digital volume correlation (DVC)
  • in situ mechanical testing

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