Carl Hueter

Carl Hueter (1838-1882)

Carl Hueter (1838 – 1882) was a German Surgeon.

Remembered for his contribution to the Hueter-Volkmann law with Richard von Volkmann (1830 – 1889). An orthopaedic rule that states bone growth is retarded by increased mechanical compression, and accelerated by reduced loading in comparison with normal values.

Credited with coining the term ‘hallux valgus‘ in 1871 and defined it as “lateral deviation of the great toe from the medial plane of the body”, Co-founder of the journal Deutsche Zeitschrift für Chirurgie (1872 – 1947) along with Georg Albert Lücke (1829–1894)


  • Born 27 November 1838 in Marburg, Germany
  • 1858 – Passed state examination in Kassel
  • 1861 – Human joint anatomy research, Paris.
  • 1865 – Assistant to Bernhard von Langenbeck (1810-1887), Berlin
  • 1870 – Professor of surgery, University of Greifswald
  • Died 12 May 1882

Medical Eponyms

Hueter-Volkmann law (1862)

Conceptual description of how immature bones grow and remodel via both intramembraneous and endochondral ossification. An orthopaedic rule that states compression forces inhibit growth and tensile forces stimulate growth.

In 1862 whilst studying anatomy, Hueter published his ‘Anatomic studies on the joints of the extremities in newborns and adults’. He deduced that:

…the changes of the joint surfaces are preferably caused by a relative greater growth of the bony parts which are under relatively less pressure

Hueter 1862

Virchow, also in 1862 published his ‘Surgical experiences concerning bone deformities and bone growth’. He stated that:

surgeons and orthopaedists have always been convinced that osseous tissue is a mobile form changing fabric…the periosteum places new bone layer by layer, whilst on the inside increasing pressure pushes away the old bone which atrophies with pressure…alterations in the growth of long bones are as a result of tension and compression on the epiphyseal plate

Volkmann 1862
  • Hueter test – for biceps tendon injury
  • Hueter bandage – perineal spica dressing
  • Hueter resection – resection of metatarsal head in cases of infected hallux valgus.

Major Publications


  • Volkmann R. Chirurgische Erfahrungen über Knochenverbiegung und Knochenwachstum [Surgical experiences about bone deformities and bone growth]. Archive for pathological anatomy and physiology and clinical medicine. 1862; 24(5-6): 512–540. [Hueter-Volkmann law]
  • Mehlman CT, Araghi A, Roy DR. Hyphenated history: the Hueter-Volkmann law. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 1997 Nov;26(11):798-800. [PMID 9402217]
  • Stokes IA. Mechanical effects on skeletal growth. J Musculoskelet Neuronal Interact. 2002 Mar;2(3):277-80. [PMID 15758453]

BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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