Quality of healing: Defining, quantifying, and enhancing skeletal muscle healing

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Abstract

Skeletal muscle injury is common in everyday physical activity and athletics, as well as in orthopedic trauma and disease. The overall functional disability resulting from muscle injury is directly related to the intrinsic healing properties of muscle and extrinsic treatment options designed to maximize repair and/or regeneration of muscle tissue all while minimizing pathologic healing pathways. It is important to understand the injury and repair pathways in order to improve the speed and quality of recovery. Recent military conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan have highlighted the importance of successfully addressing muscular injury and showed the need for novel treatment options that will maximize functional regeneration of the damaged tissue. These severe, wartime injuries, when juxtaposed to peacetime, sports-related injuries, provide us with interesting case examples of the two extreme forms of muscular damage. Comparing and contrasting the differences in these healing pathways will likely provide helpful cues that will help physicians recapitulate the near complete repair and regeneration in less traumatic injuries in addition to more severe cases.

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