Wolff's law and the problem of muscle attachment on resorptive surfaces of bone

Authors

  • D. A. N. Hoyte,

    1. Department of Anatomy, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
    2. Department of Anatomy and Center for Human Growth and Development, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Donald H. Enlow

    1. Department of Anatomy, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica
    2. Department of Anatomy and Center for Human Growth and Development, The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
    Search for more papers by this author

  • Supported by U.S.P.H.S. grant DE-01903.

Abstract

During the growth of a bone, outer (periosteal) surfaces in many areas undergo normal remodeling processes involving resorptive removal. Attachments of muscles commonly occur on such outer resorptive surfaces. The cortex in these regions grows in an inward direction by bone deposition on endosteal surfaces. In some areas of a bone, a portion of a muscle can be inserted onto a depository surface, but other parts of the same muscle may be attached onto an adjacent resorptive surface. It has been generally assumed that the pull of a muscle acts to directly stimulate deposition of new bone, and that attachments of muscle are thereby responsible for determining the gross morphology of a whole bone. In view of the foregoing considerations, a re-evaluation and an expansion of this concept is now needed. Muscle pull, in many regions of a bone, can be associated with normal cortical recession (involving surface resorption) as well as with outward bone deposition.

Ancillary