1. Health
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

Wolff's Law

By

Updated April 28, 2014

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Definition:

Wolff’s Law states that bone grows and remodels in response to the forces that are placed upon it. After injury to bone, placing specific stress in specific directions to the bone can help it remodel and become normal healthy bone again.

Wolff’s Law applies to physical therapy in the treatment of osteoporosis and after a fracture. If you have osteoporosis, your bones may be brittle and weak. This can lead to pathologic fracture, most commonly in the spine or hip. Weight-bearing and strength exercises are usually recommended as a non-medicinal treatment for osteoporosis.

If you have suffered a fracture, bone healing occurs while you have been immobilized with a cast or splint. After immobilization, gentle range of motion and stress can help improve the overall strength of your bone. This can help ensure that your bone is able to tolerate the loads and stresses that you may encounter during normal functional activities.

Your physical therapist can help you with strategies to start applying stress to your bone after injury and fracture or if you have osteoporosis. This can ensure that proper healing takes place and that you return to normal function quickly and safely.

Pronunciation: (woolfs law)
Common Misspellings: Wolf's Law

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.

We comply with the HONcode standard
for trustworthy health
information: verify here.