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Biomechanical and wearability testing of novel legwear for variably limiting extension of the metacarpophalangeal joint of horses

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  • 1 Orthopaedic Research Laboratory, Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine, Tufts University, North Grafton, MA 01536.
  • | 2 Manta Product Development Inc, Cambridge, MA 02141.
  • | 3 Centre for Applied Sport and Exercise Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, England.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the ability of novel legwear designed to limit extension of the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) to redirect loading forces from the flexor apparatus during walk, trot, and canter on a treadmill and during unrestrained and restrained activity in a stall.

ANIMALS

6 adult horses without musculoskeletal disease.

PROCEDURES

Legwear-derived force data were recorded under 4 conditions: inactive state (unlimited legwear extension) and 3 active (restrictive) states (mild, 30° extension; moderate, 20° extension; or maximum, 10° extension). Associations between peak legwear loads and torques among legwear states and treadmill gaits and stall activities were assessed. The hair coat and skin of the forelimbs were examined for any legwear-induced adverse effects after testing.

RESULTS

During the treadmill exercises, moderate restriction of legwear extension resulted in significantly higher peak load and torque than mild restriction, and faster speeds (canter vs walk or trot and trot vs walk) yielded significantly higher peak load and torque. During in-stall activity, maximum restriction of legwear extension yielded significantly higher peak load and torque than moderate restriction. Unrestrained in-stall activity resulted in significantly higher peak load and torque than restrained activity. The legwear caused minimal adverse effects on the hair coat and skin of the forelimbs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggested that the legwear variably reduced peak loads on the flexor apparatus. Extension of the MCPJ may be incrementally adjusted through the legwear such that return to activity may be controlled, and controlled return to activity is crucial for rehabilitating flexor apparatus injuries.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To evaluate the ability of novel legwear designed to limit extension of the metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) to redirect loading forces from the flexor apparatus during walk, trot, and canter on a treadmill and during unrestrained and restrained activity in a stall.

ANIMALS

6 adult horses without musculoskeletal disease.

PROCEDURES

Legwear-derived force data were recorded under 4 conditions: inactive state (unlimited legwear extension) and 3 active (restrictive) states (mild, 30° extension; moderate, 20° extension; or maximum, 10° extension). Associations between peak legwear loads and torques among legwear states and treadmill gaits and stall activities were assessed. The hair coat and skin of the forelimbs were examined for any legwear-induced adverse effects after testing.

RESULTS

During the treadmill exercises, moderate restriction of legwear extension resulted in significantly higher peak load and torque than mild restriction, and faster speeds (canter vs walk or trot and trot vs walk) yielded significantly higher peak load and torque. During in-stall activity, maximum restriction of legwear extension yielded significantly higher peak load and torque than moderate restriction. Unrestrained in-stall activity resulted in significantly higher peak load and torque than restrained activity. The legwear caused minimal adverse effects on the hair coat and skin of the forelimbs.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Findings suggested that the legwear variably reduced peak loads on the flexor apparatus. Extension of the MCPJ may be incrementally adjusted through the legwear such that return to activity may be controlled, and controlled return to activity is crucial for rehabilitating flexor apparatus injuries.

Contributor Notes

Address correspondence to Dr. Kirker-Head (carl.kirker-head@tufts.edu).

Dr. Pugliese's present address is the Department of Clinical Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853. Ms. Size's present address is Waltham, MA 02451.