Tendinopathy is a common and significant clinical problem characterized by activity-related pain, focal tendon tenderness and intratendinous imaging changes. Recent histopathological studies have indicated the underlying pathology to be one of tendinosis (degeneration) as opposed to tendinitis (inflammation). Relatively little is known about tendinosis and its pathogenesis. Contributing to this is an absence of validated animal models of the pathology. Animal models of tendinosis represent potential efficient and effective means of furthering our understanding of human tendinopathy and its underlying pathology. By selecting an appropriate species and introducing known risk factors for tendinopathy in humans, it is possible to develop tendon changes in animal models that are consistent with the human condition. This paper overviews the role of animal models in tendinopathy research by discussing the benefits and development of animal models of tendinosis, highlighting potential outcome measures that may be used in animal tendon research, and reviewing current animal models of tendinosis. Hopefully with further development of animal models of tendinosis new strategies for the prevention and treatment of tendinopathy in humans will be generated.
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