A concert between biology and biomechanics: The influence of the mechanical environment on bone healing

Vaida Glatt, Christopher H. Evans, Kevin Tetsworth

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


In order to achieve consistent and predictable fracture healing, a broad spectrum of growth factors are required to interact with one another in a highly organized response. Critically important, the mechanical environment around the fracture site will significantly influence the way bone heals, or if it heals at all. The role of the various biological factors, the timing, and spatial relationship of their introduction, and how the mechanical environment orchestrates this activity, are all crucial aspects to consider. This review will synthesize decades of work and the acquired knowledge that has been used to develop new treatments and technologies for the regeneration and healing of bone. Moreover, it will discuss the current state of the art in experimental and clinical studies concerning the application of these mechano-biological principles to enhance bone healing, by controlling the mechanical environment under which bone regeneration takes place. This includes everything from the basic principles of fracture healing, to the influence of mechanical forces on bone regeneration, and how this knowledge has influenced current clinical practice. Finally, it will examine the efforts now being made for the integration of this research together with the findings of complementary studies in biology, tissue engineering, and regenerative medicine. By bringing together these diverse disciplines in a cohesive manner, the potential exists to enhance fracture healing and ultimately improve clinical outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number678
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Issue numberJAN
StatePublished - 2017


  • Bone healing/biomechanics
  • Bone repair/regeneration
  • Dynamyzation/reverse dynamization
  • External/internal fracture fixation
  • Fixation stability
  • Fracture fixation
  • Large bone defects
  • Mechanical environment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology


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