Bone smash theory is the theory that damaging bones increases bone mass over time.

For example, one can moderately strike parts of their bones with blunt objects/weapons like a hammer or etc. to microfracture the bone tissue and stimulate it in a way that it's expected it will heal itself and actually grow or expand with calcification. My question is, is this how the process really works?

Like, will damaging a bone/bones -- letting them heal -- and then continuing the process over and over again make bone mass increase at the target point of impact/fracturing? Some people apparently do this to increase bone mass at certain points of the body (or hope to at least from doing such).

Think like a purposeful micro-injury done over time. Would we expect bones to adapt by becoming bigger and/or stronger? "Bigger" meaning more bone mass -- "stronger" meaning less damage from doing this over and over again since it is trying to repair itself from further damage next time.

EDIT: Also, what if we assume one is intaking HGH or other drugs/supplements that can aid the body in its osteogenesis/bone growth process? We can "tell" the body to deposit more calicum and/or implement heightened supraphysiological doses on certain minerals, etc. to aid this repair process. Not to mention there are devices like these to add to the table of theoretical assistance methods.

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put on hold as off-topic by De Novo, David, kmm, Bryan Krause, anongoodnurse Feb 12 at 5:03

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    $\begingroup$ do you have any reference about "Bone smash theory"? $\endgroup$ – aaaaaa Feb 10 at 4:18
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    $\begingroup$ Similar questions pop up here every once in a while (from a particular internet subculture), usually as a disguised attempt to find out whether it's a good idea to use a hammer as a cheap alternative to plastic surgery. Don't do either of these things. Your facial structure will not be improved with a hammer. $\endgroup$ – De Novo Feb 10 at 4:55
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    $\begingroup$ @De Novo I've heard of this before from a friend and it was in the context of martial arts. $\endgroup$ – Cell Feb 10 at 13:44
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    $\begingroup$ @aaaaaa There is no such thing as a reference for something experimental and not reasonably testable due to its nature -- but still is very grounded in scientific means so thus is noteworthy and valid to ask here. $\endgroup$ – Cardio Rabbit Feb 11 at 21:32
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    $\begingroup$ @BryanKrause That's a poor way of looking at it honestly. It is grounded in science because the theory is based on the factors of osteogenesis and bone repair. It doesn't have a reference for its very name and the theory I'm asking here, but anyone past 6 knows that bones normally heal themselves upon damage. So what about this postulation is not scientific for you? The fact that it doesn't have a name in Pubmed -- or just because you want to be pedantic when the nature of this question and where it's coming from is 100% clear regardless? $\endgroup$ – Cardio Rabbit Feb 11 at 21:36

There's no scientific evidence that I'm aware of to support the practice as promoted in some martial arts - even though there seems to be plenty of anecdotal evidence across the internet (I personally believe any performance gains from pounding on the area such as conditioning the shins in muay-thai would be more a result of desensitising the nerves in the region). From what was quoted in this article it would seem the bone density and strength of previously broken and surrounding bone eventually equalises providing little to no gain for the pain.

Bone density can however be increased throughout the entire bone by strength training (as reviewed here, and plenty of other sources) which is a direct corollary of Wolff's law which say's that

bone in a healthy person or animal will adapt to the loads under which it is placed

and from a martial arts perspective has the advantage of increasing striking power.

  • $\begingroup$ What about combining some bone growth/osteogenesis stimulator device in tandem with bone damage and repair? These devices apparently help bones heal. If we assume the bone is repeatedly damaged and given the most ideal healing regimen/environment, could it then stand to reason that this "theory" could actually work? We can damage bones, but use something like a human growth hormone secretagogue and supraphysiological calcium, vitamin D and vitamin K/K2 dosages to help "supercharge" the body to heal damaged sites beyond a normal, otherwise non-implemented post assistance method(s) to the table. $\endgroup$ – Cardio Rabbit Feb 11 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ I have no idea of the type of regimen that would be required but I'm sure if you were careless enough to go to the extremes of supplementing growth hormones and the like then something could be done to sculpted the density of the bone - but even if it worked, bone have evolved to have a specific shape and structure so deliberately altering these would most likely have undesirable consequences (dense bones wouldn't just fracture - they'd shatter!) $\endgroup$ – norlesh Feb 12 at 2:13
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    $\begingroup$ Nice to see a nice answer! $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse Feb 12 at 5:05

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