Does bone structure change with weight?

1 Answer
Jun 12, 2017

According to Wolff's Law, bones will adapt their structures to accommodate changes in weight or other forces.


Wolff's Law was developed by Julius Wolff. It states that when a bone is subjected to a repetitive force, the bone will eventually change its shape to accommodate the conditions.

The best example of Wolff's Law can be seen in what is called "Tennis Elbow". Tennis players, especially at the highly competitive level, will hit a tennis ball across the court hundreds of times in a single match. X-rays of tennis players' elbows show an increase in bone density at the olecranon process on the ulna.

Similar findings would be expected in patients with varying weights. In fact, one of the best examples of this is seen in astronauts. In a weightless environment, astronauts experience significant decreases in bone density, leading to serious health concerns for long term space flight.