The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is one of the most frequently injured ligaments in the knee. Although it can heal spontaneously after rupture, laboratory studies have shown that the mechanical properties of the healing MCL remain inferior to normal for up to two years after injury (1). Additionally, the healing MCL has been shown to display increased amounts of stress relaxation and creep (2). In order to more completely describe the viscoelastic properties of healing ligaments, we propose to use the Quasi-Linear Viscoelastic (QLV) theory formulated by Fung (1972). This theory has been used to successfully describe the viscoelastic properties of many soft-tissues (3). Recently, our research center has developed an improved approach to determine the constants describing the QLV theory based on data collected from a stress relaxation experiment that utilizes a slow strain rate during loading. This approach allows for experimental errors that commonly result from fast strain rates to be avoided (ex. overshoot) (4). Therefore, the objective of this study were to use this new approach to determine the constants describing the quasi-linear viscoelastic behavior of the healing goat MCL at 12 weeks after injury.

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