Weekly musings, 3/4/18: Bone and adaptation
I was chatting with a client recently, who mentioned how surprised she was we had been able to do so much with her feet. (Her feet had sustained several injuries over the years, and her imaging showed structural abnormalities).
“Bone is a living tissue,” I told her. “It can adapt and become stronger with the right stimulus. Just like people with osteoporosis can become less osteoporotic because their bones get stronger with weight training, the bones and muscles in your feet can become stronger with a slow and gradual exposure to force, assuming you are otherwise healthy.”
There is a concept called Wolff’s law, developed by German anatomist Julius Wolff in the nineteenth century which says if load on a bone increases, over time, the bone will remodel itself to become strong enough to withstand the load.* What this means is not only can you become stronger on the deepest structural level if you use your body under load consistently, but that an x-ray is a lot like a photograph. You know that a photograph of you today will look different from a photograph of you five years from now because you might cut your hair, your body might change, or you might change your diet, affecting how your skin looks. A photograph and an x-ray (or any other type of imaging), are a snapshot in time. They are not necessarily indicative of what you will look like later because you can (and will) change. How you change depends largely on your choices today.