Progress in orthopaedic research is proceeding at a vertiginous pace marked by rapid advances in both biology and engineering. This year, almost 2000 abstracts were submitted to the Orthopaedic Research Society, approximately 50% of which were selected for presentation at the Annual Meeting. As orthopaedic clinical practice has evolved over the last twenty years, research on new treatments and technologies has increased significantly, and we have gained a better biological understanding of musculoskeletal diseases. The papers presented at the Annual Meeting provide insight into the goals and interests of the research community and represent the future hope of the clinical community. In this review, using examples from the Annual Meeting and the recent scientific literature, we present a selection of topics from areas of research that we believe have shown the most progress over the last year and perhaps the most potential for the future.