Myocardial infarction therapies involving biomaterial injections have shown benefits in inhibiting progression towards heart failure. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. A finite element model of the human left ventricle was developed from magnetic resonance images. An anteroapical infarct was represented at acute (AI) and fibrotic (FI) stage. Hydrogel injections in the infarct region were modelled with layered (L) and bulk (B) distribution. In the FI, injectates reduced end-systolic myofibre stresses from 291.6% to 117.6% (FI-L) and 115.3% (FI-B) of the healthy value, whereas all AI models exhibited sub-healthy stress levels (AI: 90.9%, AI-L: 20.9%, AI-B: 30.5%). Reduction in end-diastolic infarct stress were less pronounced for both FI (FI: 294.1%, FI-L: 176.5%, FI-B: 188.2%) and AI (AI: 94.1%, AI-L: 35.3%, AI-B: 41.2%). In the border zone, injectates reduced end-systolic fibre stress by 8–10% and strain from positive (AI) and zero (FI) to negative. Layered and bulk injectates increased ejection fraction by 7.4% and 8.4% in AI and 14.1% and 13.7% in FI. The layered injectate had a greater impact on infarct stress and strain at acute stage, whereas the bulk injectate exhibited greater benefits at FI stage. These findings were confirmed by our previous in vivo results. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.