Measuring Local Tissue Strains in Tendons via Open-Source Digital Image Correlation

Stanton Godshall, Krishna Pedaprolu, Erica Vasti, Faezeh Eskandari, Spencer E. Szczesny

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


There is considerable scientific interest in understanding the strains that tendon cells experience in situ and how these strains influence tissue remodeling. Based on this interest, several analytical techniques have been developed to measure local tissue strains within tendon explants during loading. However, in several cases, the accuracy and sensitivity of these techniques have not been reported, and none of the algorithms are publicly available. This has made it difficult for the more widespread measurement of local tissue strains in tendon explants. Therefore, the objective of this paper was to create a validated analysis tool for measuring local tissue strains in tendon explants that is readily available and easy to use. Specifically, a publicly available augmented-Lagrangian digital image correlation (ALDIC) algorithm was adapted for measuring 2D strains by tracking the displacements of cell nuclei within mouse Achilles tendons under uniaxial tension. Additionally, the accuracy of the calculated strains was validated by analyzing digitally transformed images, as well as by comparing the strains with values determined from an independent technique (i.e., photobleached lines). Finally, a technique was incorporated into the algorithm to reconstruct the reference image using the calculated displacement field, which can be used to assess the accuracy of the algorithm in the absence of known strain values or a secondary measurement technique. The algorithm is capable of measuring strains up to 0.1 with an accuracy of 0.00015. The technique for comparing a reconstructed reference image with the actual reference image successfully identified samples that had erroneous data and indicated that, in samples with good data, approximately 85% of the displacement field was accurate. Finally, the strains measured in mouse Achilles tendons were consistent with the prior literature. Therefore, this algorithm is a highly useful and adaptable tool for accurately measuring local tissue strains in tendons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere64921
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number191
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Immunology and Microbiology


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