Although it has been well established that fracture healing is influenced by the mechanical environment, the optimal parameters have not yet been established. In two groups of sheep an experimental tibial diaphysial fracture was created, and stabilised using external skeletal fixation. In one group rigid fixation was maintained throughout fracture healing; in the other group controlled axial micromovement, with a loading regime known to be osteogenic in intact bones, was applied for a short period daily.
A significant improvement in healing was associated with the application of controlled micromovement. Data from these experiments provide the basis for improving the conditions for fracture healing and may assist in the prevention of delayed union.