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November 6, 1981

Motion, not immobility, advocated for healing synovial joints

JAMA. 1981;246(18):2005-2006. doi:10.1001/jama.1981.03320180003001

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Orthopedic surgeons who "make a fetish out of applying plaster casts" should instead look to the use of motion to heal injured or diseased synovial joints.

They should also realize, says Robert B. Salter, MD, professor and head of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine, that it is possible to regenerate articular cartilage with relative comfort and little inconvenience to the patient if one is willing to set aside plaster of Paris.

Speaking to the 50th annual meeting of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Toronto, Salter said that the traditional concept that tissue, including cartilage, must be rested in order to heal "really is not valid" and the concept itself "must be put to rest."

Salter was reporting not only on his long-term experimental investigations on the healing of fullthickness defects in articular cartilage in animals, but also on his subsequent