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Entheseal surface (Sharpey's fiber insertion) alterations identify past trauma; bone base robusticity, level of routine activity.

Sharpey's fiber alterations, referred to as entheseal reaction or enthesopathy, have long been considered an indicator of daily activities. Such semantic transformation seems to conflate processes which alter the characteristics of tendonous and ligamentous attachments to bone with the rugosity and extent of their base/footprint. Rather than reflecting normal activities, it is suggested that surface reactions are actually the response to the application of sudden or unconditioned repetitive stresses-analogous to stress fractures. Thus, they are distinct from enlargement of the base/footprint, the bone remodeling process responsible for the robusticity of the area to which the enthesis attaches, which is actually a measure of actual muscle activity. Surface reactions in attachment areas represent injury, be it mechanical stress fracture-equivalents or inflammation-derived. Bone base/footprint is the reaction of the enthesis to stresses of routine physical activities. The character of underlying bone supporting Sharpey's fibers may be augmented by applied stress, but there is neither a physiologic mechanism nor is there evidence for significant addition of Sharpey's fibers beyond ontogeny. Behavior is responsible for the physiologic response of robusticity; spiculation, pathology.

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