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Kinematic and kinetic analyses of the gait of horses wearing novel legwear for variably limiting extension of the metacarpophalangeal joint

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

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the effects of novel legwear designed to limit metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) extension and redirect loading forces from the flexor apparatus through analyses of 2-D kinematic and kinetic data.

ANIMALS

6 adult horses without musculoskeletal disease.

PROCEDURES

Horses were subjected to 4 treatments: control (no legwear), inactive legwear (unlimited legwear extension), and active legwear with mild (30°) and moderate (20°) legwear extension limitation. Two-dimensional kinematic data were collected for the right forelimb (FL) during walk and trot and from leading and trailing FLs during canter on a treadmill. Ground reaction force (GRF) data were collected from FLs during overground walk and trot. Peak MCPJ angle and angular velocity were calculated from kinematic data, and peak force and average loading rate were calculated from vertical GRF data during the stance phase of the gait. Interactions between gait and treatment were determined via ANOVA.

RESULTS

Interactions between gait and treatment for peak MCPJ angle were significant. Significant reductions in MCPJ angle were noted between the control treatment and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and canter (leading and trailing FL) and between inactive legwear and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and leading FL during canter. Interactions among peak MCPJ angular velocity, peak vertical GRF, and average loading rate of the vertical GRF showed nonsignificance.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Significant reductions in MCPJ extension without significant alterations to peak vertical GRF suggested the legwear's ability to redistribute internal forces. Findings suggested that the legwear may be beneficial for horses rehabilitating from flexor apparatus injuries.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE

To investigate the effects of novel legwear designed to limit metacarpophalangeal joint (MCPJ) extension and redirect loading forces from the flexor apparatus through analyses of 2-D kinematic and kinetic data.

ANIMALS

6 adult horses without musculoskeletal disease.

PROCEDURES

Horses were subjected to 4 treatments: control (no legwear), inactive legwear (unlimited legwear extension), and active legwear with mild (30°) and moderate (20°) legwear extension limitation. Two-dimensional kinematic data were collected for the right forelimb (FL) during walk and trot and from leading and trailing FLs during canter on a treadmill. Ground reaction force (GRF) data were collected from FLs during overground walk and trot. Peak MCPJ angle and angular velocity were calculated from kinematic data, and peak force and average loading rate were calculated from vertical GRF data during the stance phase of the gait. Interactions between gait and treatment were determined via ANOVA.

RESULTS

Interactions between gait and treatment for peak MCPJ angle were significant. Significant reductions in MCPJ angle were noted between the control treatment and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and canter (leading and trailing FL) and between inactive legwear and legwear with moderate extension limitation for trot and leading FL during canter. Interactions among peak MCPJ angular velocity, peak vertical GRF, and average loading rate of the vertical GRF showed nonsignificance.

CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE

Significant reductions in MCPJ extension without significant alterations to peak vertical GRF suggested the legwear's ability to redistribute internal forces. Findings suggested that the legwear may be beneficial for horses rehabilitating from flexor apparatus injuries.

Supplementary Materials

    • Supplementary Figure S1 (PDF 195 kb)
    • Supplementary Figure S2 (PDF 186 kb)

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.