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Stretch Better Than Stiff: Foot & Ankle

by Dr. John Thomson

Cells are capable of both biochemical and bio-physical signal recognition. This means cells recognize and adapt to forces of compression, shape, and stretch. Mechanobiology is the study of external physical factors and their role in cellular function. First focus: soft tissue.

Move It or Lose It

Tendons require motion after repair. Balance is key. Excessive motion will cause re-rupture or impaired healing of soft tissue. Prolonged immobility will cause adhesions and muscle wasting. Cellular catabolic state results from either extreme. Motion is a necessity, but in a controlled manner.

Orthopedic Devices With Mechanobiology as a Feature

Controlled loading has shown to enhance healing following surgical repair. The solution lies in a stable and reliable construct that will enable early range of motion, and function in loading sharing. Native tissue must be protected, but also continue to feel physical force. Loading sharing and early stability is mechanobiology in action.

Dr. John Thompson, DPM, AACFAS, is an Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Fellowship trained surgeon. He has established practice in Atlanta, GA. His expertise is focused on hindfoot and ankle reconstruction. He completed his Bachelor’s in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from The College of Wooster.

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