The Hueter Volkmann Law Explained

From this perspective article entitled “Mechanical Effects on Skeletal Growth” we learn about a very important law that is extremely applicable to our endeavor since it sort of validate old wives tales and common sense. If you exercise or push too much axial load on your bones when you are still young and can grow, you can possibly stunt your growth and decrease what would be your final height. The Hueter-Volkmann ‘Law’ implies a continuous monotonic relationship between loading and growth modulation. From the article…

“The ‘Hueter-Volkmann Law’ proposes that growth is retarded by increased mechanical compression, and accelerated by reduced loading in comparison with normal values”

and…

“The gross effect of growth modulation has been demonstrated qualitatively and semi-quantitatively. Sustained compression of physiological magnitude inhibits growth by 40% or more.”

To validate this law…

The mechanical modulation of epiphyseal growth is often referred to as the ‘Hueter-Volkmann Law’. Mechanical modulation of longitudinal growth by compressive forces is the most widely recognized, but tension, torsion and bending are also reported as having an influence on the longitudinal, rotational and angular development. While growth responds to sustained load, bone remodeling responds primarily to transient loading 5 . Intuitively it would appear that if bone growth responded to transient forces, then active children would achieve different stature than their less active peers. However, recent data suggest that intermittent large compressive stresses do reduce endochondral growth in the rat forelimb.

There has been clinical studies where it was observed that the spinal longitudinal growth was more because the vertebrate was not loaded as much.

A similar concept has been proposed in the mechanism of scoliosis progression during growth. In the spine, Gooding and Neuhauser reported “tall vertebrae” in patients with paralysis and also in younger patients who had been treated surgically with posterior fusion of the spine. They argued that the relative unloading of the spine produced increased longitudinal growth, although this was contested by Taylor. McCall et al. similarly reported on 3 patients who had increased height of the vertebrae (and thinner discs) secondary to long-term immobilization in plaster for treatment of idiopathic scoliosis.

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