Biological Systems Engineering, Department of


Document Type


Date of this Version



Scientific Reports | (2019) 9:16392


© The Author(s) 2019

Open access


A patellar-tendon-bearing (PTB) bar is a common design feature used in the socket of trans-tibial prostheses to place load on the pressure-tolerant tissue. As the patellar tendon in the residual limb is subjected to the perpendicular compressive force not commonly experienced in normal tendons, it is possible for tendon degeneration to occur over time. The purpose of this study was to compare patellar tendon morphology and neovascularity between the residual and intact limbs in trans-tibial amputees and healthy controls. Fifteen unilateral trans-tibial amputees who utilized a prosthesis with a PTB feature and 15 age- and sex- matched controls participated. Sonography was performed at the proximal, mid-, and distal portions of each patellar tendon. One-way ANOVAs were conducted to compare thickness and collagen fiber organization and a chi-square analysis was used to compare the presence of neovascularity between the three tendon groups. Compared to healthy controls, both tendons in the amputees exhibited increased thickness at the mid- and distal portions and a higher degree of collagen fiber disorganization. Furthermore, neovascularity was more common in the tendon of the residual limb. Our results suggest that the use of a prosthesis with a PTB feature contributes to morphological changes in bilateral patellar tendons.