Abstract The physical properties of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibre/UHMWPE matrix composites have been characterized. It was found that the tensile strength and modulus, and creep resistance, were significantly increased after incorporating UHMWPE fibres into a UHMWPE matrix. The longitudinal tensile strength of the resulting self-reinforced composite increased with fibre content, according to the law of mixtures. The transverse strength did not change for fibre content of up to 7%. The double-notch impact strength of the composites was higher than plain UHMWPE. There was no difference in wear properties between the composites and plain UHMWPE. The cross-section and tensile fracture surfaces of the composites were examined by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Overall results indicate that the self-reinforced UHMWPE composites may be good candidates for load-bearing biomedical applications.