Advertisement

Calculated forelimb flexor tendon forces in horses with experimentally induced superficial digital flexor tendinitis and the effects of application of heel wedges

View More View Less
  • 1 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, and Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 2 Present address is Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, CA 94720-3140.
  • | 3 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.
  • | 4 Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Physiology, and Institute for Fundamental and Clinical Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
  • | 5 Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824.

Abstract

Objective—To calculate forces in the flexor tendons and the influence of heel wedges in affected and contralateral (compensating) forelimbs of horses with experimentally induced unilateral tendinitis of the superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon.

Animals—5 Warmblood horses.

Procedure—Ground reaction force and kinematic data were obtained during a previous study while horses were trotting before and after induction of tendinitis in 1 forelimb SDF and after application of 6° heel wedges to both forehooves. Forces in the SDF, deep digital flexor (DDF), and the suspensory ligament (SL) and strain in the accessory ligament (AL) of the DDF were calculated, using an in vitro model of the distal region of the forelimb.

Results—After induction of tendinitis, trotting speed slowed, and forces decreased in most tendons. In the affected limb, SL force decreased more than SDF and DDF forces. In the compensating limb, SDF force increased, and the other forces decreased. After application of heel wedges, SDF force in both limbs increased but not significantly. Furthermore, there was a decrease in DDF force and AL strain.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The increase in SDF force in the compensating forelimb of horses with unilateral SDF tendinitis may explain the high secondary injury rate in this tendon. The lack of decrease of SDF force in either limb after application of heel wedges suggests that heel wedges are not beneficial in horses with SDF tendinitis. Instead, heel wedges may exacerbate the existing lesion. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:432–437)

Abstract

Objective—To calculate forces in the flexor tendons and the influence of heel wedges in affected and contralateral (compensating) forelimbs of horses with experimentally induced unilateral tendinitis of the superficial digital flexor (SDF) tendon.

Animals—5 Warmblood horses.

Procedure—Ground reaction force and kinematic data were obtained during a previous study while horses were trotting before and after induction of tendinitis in 1 forelimb SDF and after application of 6° heel wedges to both forehooves. Forces in the SDF, deep digital flexor (DDF), and the suspensory ligament (SL) and strain in the accessory ligament (AL) of the DDF were calculated, using an in vitro model of the distal region of the forelimb.

Results—After induction of tendinitis, trotting speed slowed, and forces decreased in most tendons. In the affected limb, SL force decreased more than SDF and DDF forces. In the compensating limb, SDF force increased, and the other forces decreased. After application of heel wedges, SDF force in both limbs increased but not significantly. Furthermore, there was a decrease in DDF force and AL strain.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—The increase in SDF force in the compensating forelimb of horses with unilateral SDF tendinitis may explain the high secondary injury rate in this tendon. The lack of decrease of SDF force in either limb after application of heel wedges suggests that heel wedges are not beneficial in horses with SDF tendinitis. Instead, heel wedges may exacerbate the existing lesion. (Am J Vet Res 2002;63:432–437)