Tendon is a crucial component of the musculoskeletal system. Tendons connect muscle to bone and transmit forces to produce motion. Chronic and acute tendon injuries are very common and result in considerable pain and disability. The management of tendon injuries remains a challenge for clinicians. Effective treatments for tendon injuries are lacking because the understanding of tendon biology lags behind that of the other components of the musculoskeletal system. Animal and cellular models have been developed to study tendon-cell differentiation and tendon repair following injury. These studies have highlighted specific growth factors and transcription factors involved in tenogenesis during developmental and repair processes. Mechanical factors also seem to be essential for tendon development, homeostasis and repair. Mechanical signals are transduced via molecular signalling pathways that trigger adaptive responses in the tendon. Understanding the links between the mechanical and biological parameters involved in tendon development, homeostasis and repair is prerequisite for the identification of effective treatments for chronic and acute tendon injuries.