Wolffs Law – how bones remodel!

This is based on the fact that our skeletons are constantly changing and adapting to what stresses are being placed on them. They remodel and develop to cope with these stressors. This process is called wolfs law and states that our bones become thicker and stronger as we place forces upon them. Lifestyle examples include thai boxers with thicker tibias and fibulas due to the repetitive nature of kicking at a resistance. The resistance causes the bones to adapt where they become thicker and stronger and better able to absorb the impact. Tennis players have thicker forearms on their dominant side compared to the other, again, due to the nature of their activity.

How does this relate to injuries?

A thicker bone is harder to break so therefore decreases your risk of any breaks or fractures from sports or activities. When you have broken a bone and have been in a cast for a period of time, the muscles around become weaker and the bone density would have most likely lost some mass. An osteopaths role here would be to help develop a resistance program that can help speed up recovery by building muscle optimally and providing enough stress through the bone to influence the remodeling process.

Wolffs law and the older generation.

As we age we increase our chance of developing a disease called Osteoporosis, this causes our bones to weaken and lose bone density and increases our risk of fractures and breaks from falls etc. Resistance training like weights is very useful helping to prevent this weakness by helping to delay the onset of Osteoporosis and reducing the rate of bone loss. Starting resistance training while in young adulthood will mean that as you age you will reach peak bone density earlier and be at a higher level of bone mass as you age.

About the author

Michael is an Osteopath, trainee strength and conditioning coach and competitive powerlifter.

Wolffs Law