This paper presents a computational methodology for frictional contact mechanics of the pressure armour layer in flexible risers. This will allow, for the first time, quantification of key fretting variables, such as contact pressure, relative slip and sub-surface stresses in this complex geometry, under representative loading conditions. Fatigue lives are calculated using the 3-dimensional critical plane Smith Watson-Topper multiaxial fatigue parameter. It is shown that COF has a significant effect on predicted trailing-edge tensile stresses in the pressure armour layer and, hence on fretting crack initiation in risers. It is also shown that operating pressure and bending-induced axial displacement significantly affect predicted crack initiation. These results will facilitate representative fretting wear and fretting fatigue testing of pressure armour layer material. (C) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.