Periarticular connective tissue is one important part of the musculoskeletal system. Its unique ability to adapt to the shortest distance between its origin and insertion, however, produces harmful effects during immobilization. AH situations that lead to immobilization can cause some degree of degenerative change in the musculoskeletal system. When immobilization, whatever its cause, cannot be avoided, every attempt should be made to minimize it and to try to treat its harmful effects. There is some evidence that early mobilization, traction, and continuous passive motion overcome the harmful effects of immobilization, but more knowledge on this subject is needed. Animal experiments play an important role in the attainment of knowledge of immobilization and mobilization processes in health and disease.
From the Institute of Occupational Health, Helsinki, Finland, and the Division of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center, Dallas, Texas.