Park-Harris lines are radiographically apparent linear opacities that occur in a metaphyseal bone in proximity to a physis. Lines correspond to a temporary interruption of the normally ossifying physis with a sclerotic line corresponding to transversely oriented trabeculae. They were first appreciated in the long bones of diabetic children and have since been described in various metabolic, endocrinologic, infectious, neoplastic, and posttraumatic conditions as well as in response to systemic medications. Park-Harris lines are clinically useful in demarcating notable events in whole-body or individual bone development, in tracking longitudinal growth, or in assessing physeal arrest and responses to its treatment. There remains controversy about whether these lines are pathologic or a component of physiologic development and whether they constitute true "growth arrest" or rather "growth recovery." In this review, the history, pathophysiology, imaging, and clinical use of Park-Harris lines as well as an anthropological perspective on their utility for studying illness, nutrition, and historical living conditions over time are discussed.
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