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Development and evaluation of a noninvasive marker cluster technique to assess three-dimensional kinematics of the distal portion of the forelimb in horses

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  • 1 Department of Technology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
  • | 2 Department of Allied Health Professions, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
  • | 3 Department of Technology, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.
  • | 4 Myerscough College of Agriculture, Bilsborrow, Preston, UK.

Abstract

Objective—To develop and evaluate a marker cluster set for measuring sagittal and extrasagittal movement of joints in the distal portion of the forelimb in ponies.

Animals—4 ponies.

Procedures—5 infrared cameras were positioned on a concrete walkway in a frontal-sagittal arc and calibrated. Four segments were defined: hoof, middle phalanx, proximal phalanx, and metacarpus. Rigid clusters with 4 retroreflective markers were placed on each segment. A static trial was recorded with additional anatomic markers on the medial and lateral joint lines. Those anatomic markers were removed, and kinematic data were recorded at 240 Hz during walking. An ensemble mean was computed from the 4 ponies from 5 replicates of the walks. Joint kinematic variables were calculated by use of the calibrated anatomical system technique. The design and error dispersion of each marker were evaluated.

Results—Marker clusters were quasiplanar, but variation in orientation error was reduced because the mean radii were > 10 times the largest error dispersion values. Measurements of sagittal rotations of the distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, and metacarpophalangeal joints were similar to measurements obtained with bone-fixed triads, but larger discrepancies between the 2 methods were found for extrasagittal rotations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Development of noninvasive methods for quantifying data pertaining to 3-dimensional motion in horses is important for advancement of clinical analysis. The technique used in the study enabled identification of flexion-extension motions with an acceptable degree of accuracy. Appropriate correction algorithms and improvements to the technique may enable future quantification of extrasagittal motions.

Abstract

Objective—To develop and evaluate a marker cluster set for measuring sagittal and extrasagittal movement of joints in the distal portion of the forelimb in ponies.

Animals—4 ponies.

Procedures—5 infrared cameras were positioned on a concrete walkway in a frontal-sagittal arc and calibrated. Four segments were defined: hoof, middle phalanx, proximal phalanx, and metacarpus. Rigid clusters with 4 retroreflective markers were placed on each segment. A static trial was recorded with additional anatomic markers on the medial and lateral joint lines. Those anatomic markers were removed, and kinematic data were recorded at 240 Hz during walking. An ensemble mean was computed from the 4 ponies from 5 replicates of the walks. Joint kinematic variables were calculated by use of the calibrated anatomical system technique. The design and error dispersion of each marker were evaluated.

Results—Marker clusters were quasiplanar, but variation in orientation error was reduced because the mean radii were > 10 times the largest error dispersion values. Measurements of sagittal rotations of the distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, and metacarpophalangeal joints were similar to measurements obtained with bone-fixed triads, but larger discrepancies between the 2 methods were found for extrasagittal rotations.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Development of noninvasive methods for quantifying data pertaining to 3-dimensional motion in horses is important for advancement of clinical analysis. The technique used in the study enabled identification of flexion-extension motions with an acceptable degree of accuracy. Appropriate correction algorithms and improvements to the technique may enable future quantification of extrasagittal motions.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Ms. Hobbs.