Increasing Your Wingspan And Arm Length Using Distraction Osteogenesis, Part I

In one of the earliest of the posts that was on this website, I had stated the important of having a proportionate body in addition to just having great height. An article was written about the importance of also increasing one’s wingspan or arm length found HERE. The original idea of the site was to find natural ways to increase not just our height, but also our entire size so that our arms, our torso, and our entire body can grow in size in proportion with everything else, just like when we were younger, when we were still growing. That was the idea when I named the site Natural Height Growth. I mentioned in a recent post that the idea may not be possible found HERE, at least not with the current methods and technologies we have available at our disposal. That is why I have decided to focus mainly on just figuring out how to increase one’s height first, and then move on to how to get the body and arm lengths in proportion to the extended leg lengths which will probably be the idea most of the ideas mentioned will try to do.

A person’s wingspan is measured as the length of the horizontal distance from the tip of one’s longest fingers (usually the middle finger) of the left and right arms extended out as far as possible. This body measuring technique is done for certain sports like boxing to measure a person reach, volleyball, and of course basketball. For this post, I wanted to look into one of the methods and techniques to increase one’s arm length, not the torso or shoulder width. I am not sure if it is even possible to make one’s torso and/or shoulders wider, although there is some discussion about that in the body building forums.

When people talk about increasing their height, one of the claims made by the people who believe that height increase is still possible even after the epiphyseal plates are closed is the body measurements of professional sports players, specifically baseball pitchers. The claim is that baseball pitchers often have longer length for the arm they pitch with than the arm they don’t throw with. The theory is that the consistent and intense mechanical movement done when the pitcher throws the ball over time increases the arm bones or joint cartilage so the arm length becomes increase in longitudal length. Ok, if we assume that  idea is is true, then why is there no anthropomorphic measurements or medical records that validate that fact? I would like to see actual written documents that showed that some medical professional did measure a pitcher’s arm length over the course of the pitcher’s baseball career and that they noted the increase in arm length beyond just a measurement error.

Personally, my guess on this type of thinking and theory is that it is the same argument that playing basketball will increase one’s height, when the real reality of the situation is that the causality (direction of logic) should be in the opposite direction. Instead of believing that by playing baseball and being a pitcher leads to one’s pitching arm being longer, maybe we should guess that because one of a baseball player’s arm is the longer one and also the dominant hand, they were given the job of being the pitcher.

From three resources I found (Resource 1, Resource 2, Resource 3) it is shown that the reason why some people are lead into becoming the pitcher was because of their body length, both height and thus, arm length.

From elementary physics we learn that a strong long pole or board long enough placed on a fulcrum turns into a lever can theoretically lift the earth itself under normal earth gravitational force. From the same physics principle, we can say that players with a longer arm can create more angular momentum than person with a shorter arm.

Of course we have to be aware that angular momentum is calculated as L = r X mV . the X is not the operation of multiplication, but of a cross product. the arm length represents the r in the equation. the m represents the mass of the ball. the V represents the initial velocity of the ball when it is first released from the pitcher’s hand. In general, people who are bigger in size has more power in their muscles than small people. The force being able to be release by a larger person who is pitching should be more so the V is larger. In the end, this example of elementary physics is not fully accurate since the operation done is using cross product which means the ultimate direction of the angular momentum is in the 3rd plan of action, which does not have any physical representation anything in baseball. I was trying to make a “hand waving” point.

From Resource 2 I take this part from the article

“His stride is so long, it’s like he’s handing the ball to the catcher,” Hunter said….The tallest major leaguer in history is Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Jon Rauch at 6-11. Mets pitcher Chris Young and retired pitchers Randy Johnson and Eric Hillman are 6-10. A common denominator is that all were late bloomers, none of them harnessing their ability before age 26. That’s how old Van Mil is now.

Note: I had mentioned in a previous post the power of the late bloomer and this comment made in the article seems to agree with that theory. People who are late bloomers and grow their skills and abilities, as well as their bodies later in life seem to be better in the long run. 

The real point of this entire first part is that the logic that one can increase one’s arm length through vigorous exercise may be wrong. That leave one to ask then what other options are available to increase one’s arm length and wingspan so that one’s body can come out looking proportional if one figured out a way to increase ones legs to gain the extra inches in height they wanted.

The simplest method to increase one’s arms is probably through stretching but then that just lead to the same ideas and methods which one have already thought of to increase one’s height. Again the same constraints and problem develop. ie…

“How does one increase arm length when the growth plates in the humerus and forearms have fused? Should one try to expand the cartilage in the elbows and shoulders?

Note: Another key point to remember for those readers who are reading this article interested in increasing their entire wingspan, which includes the torso horizontal length, shoulder length, as well as the arm length.  

We go back to the method and idea of distraction osteogenesis. The arm bones are broken apart, and the two ends are held in place by a steel frame just like the ilizarov device. and one gets physical therapy and the bone lengths are expanded and revealed (thus grown) say 0.7 mm a day until one gets the desired length one wanted.

One thing to remember that this idea of increasing one’s arm length is definitely not as popular or well known as the cosmetic surgery of distraction osteogenesis used to increase one’s height through leg lengthening. Of course that surgery is not well known either and most people are absolutely terrified of the idea of purposely breaking their bones and going through all that pain and physical therapy just to gain a few extra cms of height.

So far I have found only one resource which talked about the idea of doing distraction osteogenesis on one’s arms. It is on the Make Me Taller website. The discussion and posts can be found HERE, HERE, and HERE.

What is absolutely critical to note is that almost all patients who get this type of surgery on the arms are because of medical pathological reasons like a genetic disorder that causes their arms to be twisted or curved. The same is relatively true also for people who use it for the legs, but more and more people these days are getting the distraction osteogenesis done on their legs for cosmetic reasons because they don’t like their short stature. Even less do the arm lengthening for cosmetic reasons. In general, far less people are concerned or care about their arm length or wingspan as much as their height and leg length.

This first article on the method of increasing your wingspan and arm length using distraction osteogenesis was just a quick overview on the reasons, context, and feasibility of the method. I will eventually write another article that takes a deeper look at the method and idea.



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